After the 3-0 derby debacle against Manchester City, Ten Hag said in an interview conducted in Dutch: “We are playing different football than I showed at Ajax because I have to, because I can&apost play the same way. The players decide how you play.”
Ten Hag added that “we play much more direct football here because I have the players for that here”. At his pre-match press conference ahead of the pivotal Premier League trip to Fulham, Ten Hag claims he was misunderstood.
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“I thought the explanation from my point of view was totally wrong, but I can&apost play like Ajax because of different players. I came here with my philosophy based on possession but also to combine it with the DNA of Manchester United and combine it with the players, the competencies and the characters of the players and then do you combine.
“Last year, we have seen what that was, we played very good football last season. This season, the philosophy is not different, I want to emphasise more on go direct.
“But the explanation for my direct, they thought I want to go for long balls. I don&apost buy Andre Onana to go for long balls, I want to play from the back, as we did and we tried it every game even against City, but when an opponent that is so high pressed it is a good option to go direct.
“What I meant with directness and I explain it in the USA to you all how we want to play, we want to press, we want to press in different blocks and then go direct, we have players like Rasmus Hojlund, Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay who are v good at it, from passing of Christian Eriksen and our full-backs joining in. That was my idea and I explained it very clear.
“The intention is clear but definitely it&aposs the case the execution isn&apost there. At the moment where we are in so many changes every game. We can&apost line up the same two or three games after each other. Every time we have to swap.