Former Manchester United defender Daley Blind says Erik ten Hag is a “control freak” who will look to implement his ideas across the club.
The Netherlands international, who made 141 appearances for the Reds between 2014 and 2018, was in Manchester recently as part of his work on a new documentary and took some time out to speak to club media about our appointment of Ten Hag.
Of course, the 32-year-old knows the new United boss inside out, having worked under him and enjoyed great success at Ajax, including winning the 2021/22 Eredivisie title.
Ten Hag’s first impressions were extremely positive as he greeted staff from all departments and familiarised himself with Old Trafford, soon after finishing the campaign in his homeland.
It was something Blind expected, knowing how sociable the boss is and his determination to ensure everybody is pulling out all the stops to achieve the same goals.
“He’s really social,” Daley told us. “I think, also in Ajax, he knows everyone at the club is important. Everyone needs to be involved to get that winning feeling, that winning mentality.
“Everyone is needed pointing in the same direction. He is aware of that and wants to keep everything close. He’s also a control freak and wants to be on top of everything. I think that’s a special quality you need to have when being that good.”
When asked what sort of coach Ten Hag is, his former player was in no doubt when assessing his quality and suitability for the role at Old Trafford.
“I think he is a brilliant one,” enthused the Dutch defender. “A manager who loves to play attacking football, what Manchester stands for.
“I think he’s a manager who knows what he wants. He knows exactly how he wants to bring it over to the team and express that and keep everyone on board, everyone in the same direction to get that winning mentality and winning trophies.”
However, Blind would not be pushed when asked for a timeframe as to when the new man will be able to help the Reds get our hands on some silverware again. There is a realisation that the rebuilding job may take time and Daley, who won the Emirates FA Cup and Europa League during his time here, is not willing to apply extra pressure on his former manager.
All he would say was that he was convinced his fellow countryman’s methods would reap dividends, providing there is some patience.
“It’s difficult to say,” he replied, when quizzed on when United can start winning the top honours again. “I won’t burn my hands on that but I think the most important thing is that the team puts out a playing style and people can see that back on the pitch.
“I know this manager has the quality and I hope he gets the time to put everything his way and makes sure the team plays how he wants. I am confident he will be successful.”
Certainly, the backing for the new boss from the outset seems guaranteed from the club’s supporters. The fans have greeted confirmation of the appointment with enthusiasm and excitement ahead of a fresh start in 2022/23.
Blind believes this is a big positive because everybody will need to be pulling in the right direction to get the club back to where we belong.
“That’s always important for a player and coach, that the fans are behind you,” he asserted. “That’s not an issue in this club. I speak for myself as I felt every day, every moment, I felt respected and still do. I still get lots of messages here and when I’m around Manchester, that people talk always positively about you.
“I really appreciate that. It gives me goosebumps as well. For the manager and for the other players who are still here, I don’t think the fans will be a problem. They will always be behind them.”
Credit: Manchester United