Nicky Butt gives verdict on Erik ten Hag’s rebuild of Manchester United with trophy warning

This season was widely regarded as a transitional campaign for Ten Hag, who was appointed on a three-year contract with the option of an additional year in the summer, but the Dutchman has defied expectations in his first six months at Old Trafford.

After a worrying start to the Premier League campaign, United have made impressive progress and they could move to second position in the table for 24 hours with a win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night.

There has been talk of a potential Premier League title challenge following the Reds&apos victory in the Manchester derby, but while Butt lauded what Ten Hag has achieved so far, he insisted this season is about laying the foundations for success.

Butt, who left his position as United&aposs head of first-team development in 2021, explained that securing a top-four finish in this campaign would be &aposamazing&apos, despite Ten Hag getting his side in a position to challenge for the title in January.

“It&aposs great, isn&apost it? Looking at what it&aposs been like over the last few years, they&aposve struggled, if we&aposre being honest, to compete with the top two or three teams. Now they&aposre getting there and competing,” Butt told Sky Sports.

“It looks from an outside point of view because I don&apost have privy to it, that they&aposve got a real camaraderie at the club and a coach that they respect and someone they know who is in charge. When I was playing for the club, we knew who the boss was.

“He&aposd walk in and everyone would sit up and training would be perfect if you like. I don&apost know if they&aposve had that for a long time, but he [Ten Hag] looks like a strong character, who knows what he wants from his team and players.

“It&aposs looking really good. I don&apost think he needs to win a trophy this season, no, it&aposs just something that&aposs being said now because of where they are. They&aposre in a challenging position and I think if they get into the top four he&aposs had an amazing season.

“Then he&aposs got to kick on next year and the year after that because ultimately at Man United you have to win trophies. They&aposve not won for a while there, but when you&aposre a manager at a club for so long, that&aposs when you have to win.

“Right now, it&aposs about getting back in the mix, getting Champions League football, getting players signed and building a real squad that can go on and challenge over the next few years.”

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