Man City challenge 'excites' Ten Hag despite dismal record for United's Manchester derby debutants


Alex Ferguson was the last Manchester United manager to win his first league game against rivals City, but Erik ten Hag intends to join him.
FotMob - 2 months ago

Erik ten Hag will look to do something no Manchester United manager has since Alex Ferguson when he heads to Manchester City on Sunday for a derby he is hugely looking forward to.

Ten Hag has recovered from a rocky start at Old Trafford to lead United to four straight wins in the Premier League.

But in order to extend that run, he will have to end a miserable sequences of results for United managers in their first Manchester derbies.

United great Ferguson won his first such clash in March 1987, but each of his successors – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick – have lost their league derby debuts.

Only Chelsea and Liverpool (both 18) have celebrated more Premier League wins against United than their nearest neighbours (17), who have come out on top in their past three meetings.

Yet Ten Hag is relishing the challenge, as he told reporters on Friday: "I played many derbies. I know what they are, what rivals are doing to each other.

"I know it's the most important game here in the Manchester area for the fans. It excites me. I want to be involved in these games.

"It's a good fight that gives so much energy. You do everything to win that game."

City have won their past seven home league games, scoring at least three times in each of them, but Ten Hag is determined to focus on his own side's merits.

"The approach is for us to look to ourselves," he said.

"The approach at Man United is we want to win every game, and that message I've already told several times here. For Sunday, it's nothing else.

"We have to perform our best; with our way of playing, our rules, our principles, we have to do our best.

"We have made a good game plan, then it's about execution. We have to do it. We want to get the result, and we know if we want to get the result, we have to do it 100 per cent well."

Similarly, Ten Hag was keen not to spend too much time worrying about Erling Haaland, the City sensation who has scored a hat-trick in each of his past two home league matches. No Premier League player has ever scored three home trebles in a row.

"We don't play against Haaland; we play against Man City," Ten Hag added. "They have a team of more than 11 players, but we have also.

"We are confident of our capabilities, and if we act as a team, in and out of possession, then we can beat our opponents. That is the belief we have to take with us when we start the game."