Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is a man who thinks deeply about football, strategy and tactical analysis, so it is perhaps no surprise to learn that he is loving the Premier League.
England’s top-flight is widely considered to be the best and most competitive division in the world, with every single team providing a genuine challenge and often with vastly different approaches.
Ten Hag has forged a reputation for being a meticulous planner and he leaves no stone unturned when it comes to readying his squad for matches, with the help of his analysts and assistant coaches.
Erik has already faced contrasting styles in our five Premier League matches this season and, after a difficult start, his United team has begun to flourish while recording consecutive wins over Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester City.
We sat down with Ten Hag on Friday afternoon to preview this weekend’s big game against leaders Arsenal and the manager admitted he is enjoying the challenges posed by different English sides.
“It’s great and a real pleasure to face this,” he told Mark Sullivan. “Every game is a challenge and that’s what I want, but it’s not about me. It’s about improving the team and working on progressing.
Asked if he watches every Premier League that’s shown on TV, Ten Hag continues: “Yes I watch them and my focus is especially on the upcoming opponents so this week I watched a lot of Arsenal.
“There are a lot of different types of play in this league and that’s nice to see. It’s all high intensity but the systems and styles are different, and they vary which is nice to see. But it’s also about finding a way to win against them.”
Ten Hag’s United recorded a third successive win on Thursday night when beating bottom side Leicester City at the King Power Stadium and Sunday’s match will pose an altogether different test, against an Arsenal team that is top of the league (at the time of writing), with maximum points and bags of confidence.
“What we see in this moment is that they are on top because they deserve it,” Erik told us. “They’re playing good football and we are really looking forward to facing them to find a way to win.”
The boss points out his players are determined to maintain our current momentum, saying: “Not only maintain, but get better. I think that has to be our idea. Good is not good enough, we have to do better every day. Bring the maximum on the pitch every day, individually and as a team.”