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How Sir Alex Ferguson and Erik ten Hag's relationship differs to past Man Utd managers

Roter.Teufel

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How Sir Alex Ferguson and Erik ten Hag's relationship differs to past Man Utd managers

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has the support of Sir Alex Ferguson behind the scenes at Old Trafford, but the Red Devils icon is making sure he doesn't interfere too much

It was last February when Sir Alex Ferguson and Erik ten Hag sat down for a bite to eat in the Cheshire town of Wilmslow.

The Manchester United boss had the full support of the Old Trafford great back then and he still has it now. They embraced in the tunnel after United went on to win the Carabao Cup later in the same week that they shared some food and a glass or two of wine.

But their meetings are rare and such dinners are not often, which make them special for Ten Hag. Ferguson frequents Old Trafford regularly – although not recently since the passing of his wife Cathy as he continues to grieve in private – and he often attends away games.

But it’s understood he is not someone who goes into the player areas of the ground now and will not interrupt post-match celebrations with his presence, unless it is a big occasion like the League Cup triumph at Wembley.

Ferguson sits in the Directors Box and enjoys spending time with the other board members or guests of the club before and after the match. He also keeps trips down to the club’s training ground to the absolute minimum and has rarely been seen there since Ten Hag took over.

That’s not a sign of any lack of support. In fact, it’s the opposite. Ferguson has made feelings clear to the club’s hierarchy when the Dutchman arrived that he needed time to build something at the club.

But he doesn’t want to interfere or be seen as a shadow over him. He keeps in contact with his own former assistant Steve McClaren, who now works under Ten Hag.

The communication lines are always open between Ten Hag and Ferguson but the Scot realises that the game has changed significantly even since he walked away from management in 2013. He is there for advice about the club, the owners and the structure. But, as far as football matters are concerned, that’s Ten Hag’s business.

Ferguson has offered support to each manager who has come after him at Old Trafford. He basically appointed David Moyes as his successor and their relationship was a lot more personal.

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But when Moyes’ time was up, Ferguson began to distance himself from him. The former Everton manager knew then the writing was on the wall.

Ferguson didn’t have a similar relationship with Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho but he knew Ole Gunnar Solskjaer well and they would regularly speak with visits often to the training ground. That’s not how it is with Ten Hag, but there is no doubt the Dutchman has the support of Ferguson, whose views still carry weight among the Old Trafford top brass.

Daily Star Sunday
 
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