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‘Best manager’ Ten Hag reveals Tuchel was approached for his United job

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag revealed Sunday the English giants had admitted courting Thomas Tuchel to replace him but opted to persevere with the under-pressure Dutchman when “they came to the conclusion that they already have the best manager”.

The 54-year-old Ten Hag was the subject of intense scrutiny after United ended last season eighth in the Premier League — their lowest finish since 1990 — and crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage. 

But he did help salvage something from the campaign thanks to a 2-1 FA Cup final win over local rivals Manchester City at Wembley that also secured a place in next season’s Europa League. 

“The club management came to me while I was on holiday in Ibiza,” Ten Hag told NOS on Sunday, while working as a football pundit for the Dutch broadcaster.

“They suddenly showed up on my doorstep and told me they wanted to continue with me. It was a turbulent season. Never a dull moment.”

Former Tottenham and Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino and Kieran McKenna, the boss of newly-promoted Ipswich, were both touted for a job where there was technically no vacancy—Ten Hag’s contract with United is about to enter its final season.

Other managers linked to United included Graham Potter, Thomas Frank, Roberto De Zerbi and current England boss Gareth Southgate.

But it was former Chelsea and Bayern Munich boss Tuchel who attracted United’s interest.

The German reportedly met with United co-owner Jim Ratcliffe, only to appear to rule himself out. 

But Ten Hag said United chiefs had flown out to Ibiza to tell him they wanted him to stay in post.

“Manchester United have told me that they spoke with Tuchel, but they eventually came to the conclusion that they already have the best manager.”

Ten Hag, reflecting on the club’s end of season review, added: “As in any organisation, it is wise to evaluate. Manchester United did that too. The new owner (Ratcliffe) is new to football, he has taken his time.

“They have indeed told me that they have spoken to other managers. That is not even allowed in the Netherlands. Then it is forbidden to talk to other coaches if there is still a trainer (manager).”

Ten Hag, who joined United from Ajax in 2022, said while he had yet to conclude talks on a contract extension he was still confident of a new deal that would keep him at Old Trafford.

“We have had good discussions with each other, various topics have been discussed,” he said. “The conclusion is that we will continue together and that they will extend my contract. 

“We still have to reach an agreement on that.”

Ten Hag is United’s fifth permanent manager since the end of Alex Ferguson’s trophy-filled reign in 2013, following David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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