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Ratcliffe’s aides visit Old Trafford as Ten Hag issues glory days warning

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ERIK TEN HAG has warned Sir Jim Ratcliffe that returning Manchester United to their glory days is the toughest job in football.

Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion stake in the club moved a step closer last night as a delegation of his closest aides – including cycling guru Sir Dave Brailsford – visited Old Trafford.

Jean-Claude Blanc is set to be United's new CEO

Former Great Britain and Team Sky cycling boss Brailsford and ex-Juventus CEO Jean-Claude Blanc held a series of high-level talks with senior United staff, including director of football John Murtough and interim chief exec Patrick Stewart.

The visit is the first time Brailsford and Blanc have set foot inside Old Trafford since they accompanied British billionaire and Ineos chemicals chief Ratcliffe on an initial visit in March.

And manager Ten Hag has been told replicating United’s trophy-winning dynasty under legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson is “impossible.”

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Ten Hag declared: “This is the most difficult job to do. But I want the challenge.”

The Dutchman is the fifth permanent Red Devils boss since Fergie stepped down after 27 years in charge back in 2013.

And the former Ajax boss added: “A big, successful club was constructed, which then dropped in the last 10 years.

“Everyone was telling me: ‘You can’t succeed in that job.’ They said it was impossible.

“Me? I wanted the challenge. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but it was such a great club with such a great fanbase.

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“People love Man Utd or they are against them. I like clubs like this. Ajax was like this.”

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Rather than be in awe of the glittering success Ferguson presided over, he has been inspired by that era, particularly United’s comeback 1999 European Cup triumph which completed the Treble.

In an interview with fanzine United We Stand, Ten Hag continued: “I loved the teams of Sir Alex, that win in Barcelona. It was inspiring.

“Nobody thought United would beat Bayern Munich.

“But I didn’t realise the belief, determination, resilience, with  Schmeichel, Keane, Cole, Irwin, Beckham, Giggs and Scholes…”

Ten Hag had a good first year in charge finishing third and reaching two domestic cup finals, winning the Carabao Cup – the club’s first silverware in six years.

There has been a downturn this season, with 10 DEFEATS in 22 games, but ETH refuses to wobble.

He said: “In my first year, I don’t think we could have expected better.

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“I know everyone hopes we win the league and when that doesn’t happen there will be disappointment, but we came from a point where we had to rebuild.

“Last season was very good. This season has not been so far, but I stress the ‘so far’ bit. We’ve had a lot of setbacks, but then there are setbacks in every project.

“We’ve had problems which we have to solve and in the background we are sorting out problems.

“We will take advantage of these decisions in the future, but we have to come through this difficult period and we will.

“We are building and I see through the cloud and see a bright future here. I see positive things.”

Brailsford won six Tour de France titles at Sky and oversaw GB’s world and Olympic cycling success.

He was then asked by United fan Ratcliffe to oversee his sporting organisations, which include a part share of the F1 Mercedes team, French Ligue 1 side Nice and Swiss team FC Lausanne.

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Blanc previously worked at Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain and was appointed CEO of Ineos Sport in December 2022.

United’s owners the Glazer family first announced they were considering selling the club a year ago.

A source revealed: “The United investment is moving forward so it’s expected that some of Sir Jim’s top people spend time at United meeting people.

“Sir David and Jean-Claude are both very experienced and can’t wait to get stuck into helping improve United’s fortunes on the pitch.”

Erik ten Hag believes being Man Utd manager is a tough as it gets in football

Source: The Sun

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