There is a new era at Manchester United and the Rangnick/Ole/Mourinho/VanGaal/Moyes era are over.
A new style of play, beautiful attacking football is about to be dished for the old trafford faithfuls from the Dutch tactician.
After an horrendous season where United finished with their lowest ever point tally in premier league history, there is about to be a new lease of life for fans.
Erik Ten Hag watched on in amazement – taking in a Manchester United side so hapless that they can’t even put on a show for their new manager.
The incoming Red Devils boss was at Selhurst Park with assistants Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren to watch the finale of a desperate campaign and begin picking up the pieces.
The Dutch tactician knows the task before him is a huge one and now we’ve taken a look at some of the things the manager must fix at Man Utd to enjoy success next season.
Where to start at the back after this 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace?
It is often said that no side can be a success without a solid backline and United have a very, very long way to go in that department.
Ten Hag will have been left wincing at some of the displays from those across the back four.
Harry Maguire has carried the can all season long but those around him must take their fair share of the blame.
Zaha slipped past Diogo Dalot with ease and fired into the bottom left corner. “He’s just too good for you,” sang the Palace fans.
He certainly was – but that isn’t saying much anymore. There has been many moments in the season where Alex Telles, lindelof or even Varane have either being culprits of defensive error or caught out of position and this is one of the biggest things to address at United.
MANAGE THE BIG EGOS
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arm-around-the-shoulder approach ultimately didn’t work, and Ralf Rangnick has been undermined from the start by his interim role.
Previously, United had two powerful figureheads in Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal, and there is already concern among United staff over another Dutch manager, such is the legacy of Van Gaal’s authoritarian regime.
Ten Hag is a skilled tactician who is known more for his attention to detail than his man-management capabilities.
But this is a club crying out for strong leadership and a clear ethos on and off the field under a manager who has the full backing of his employers to get it right.
A major rebuilding job is required at Old Trafford and it will be fascinating to see how Ten Hag handles the big personalities who remain next season given that he has worked with a largely young squad at Ajax.
Former Tottenham star Rafael van der Vaart has no doubt that his compatriot will crack the whip, saying: ‘These players can’t have any excuses any more. They made so many managers leave while they are playing so badly.
‘Now they get a manager who will be very clear and will present his plan. Those who won’t co-operate will get thrown out.’
The performance from Zaha was in stark contrast to his counterparts.
Rangnick started Anthony Elanga and debutant Hannibal Mejbri out wide with his options limited thanks to Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford being unavailable.
Even with a fully fit squad Rangnick would have struggled to find a winger who – on current form – can make things happen like Zaha.
They still had Bruno Fernandes looking to pull the strings behind Cavani.
The Portuguese is a shadow of the player who arrived from Sporting Lisbon to take the Premier League by storm in January 2020.
Fernandes couldn’t get anything going here and reviving his fortunes should be high on Ten Hag’s to do list.
The midfielder can be unstoppable at times but has more often than not looked to be a hindrance this season.
Manchester United’s midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Fred – McFred – have had their moments this season, but it is time they were broken up if there is ever going to be some progress at Old Trafford.
Fred’s passing was wayward and wasteful, while red and blue shirts passed by McTominay like he wasn’t there at times.
The energy and drive of Conor Gallagher – in his final game for Crystal Palace before returning to Chelsea next season – was simply unmatched by Manchester United.
There was no sign of any pressing or desire from the two Red Devils and Fred was quickly reduced to waving his arms around and going to war with Martin Atkinson, the referee.
Rangnick has warned that this club needs open heart surgery – and the heart of the side is where the biggest problems lie.
Instead of rallying together to end their season on a high – United spent most of the second half bickering and shaking their heads.
It never felt like they were getting back into this.
They didn’t even seem to care enough to call one another out on what was a desperately flat display.
The United dressing room has long been toxic, something the Dutchman must flush out immediately when he gets his hands on this squad.
CONNECTION WITH THE FANS
The travelling cohort were singing until the end in the sun at Selhurst Park.
They could well have been forgiven for packing up and turning their back on this sorry season at half-time.
But they stayed – they always do.
Ten Hag must galvanise a fanbase like few others.
The impression from his first interview and his first press conference has been so amazing and going forward it sure looks like it will only get better and better.
If these aforementioned things are fixed and the players, board and staff execute the plans laid down even in transfer market (getting the right players) then United will surely be a force again.