Erik ten Hag is joining a great club but only time will tell if he can make Manchester United stronger, David Moyes has said.
The West Ham United manager was named as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor in the summer of 2013, signing a six-year deal at Old Trafford only to be sacked after ten months.
Since then the club has spiralled, with Ten Hag becoming the fourth permanent manager appointed post-Ferguson, while Moyes’ reputation has been rehabilitated by guiding West Ham away from relegation trouble and into next week’s Europa League semi-final, where they face Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Scot is an admirer of the football played by Ten Hag’s Ajax team and while they have never met believes that his addition to the Premier League is an exciting one. Whether he can turn the club’s fortunes around is another matter, however.
“I don’t know him but I obviously admire Ajax and how they’ve played over last few years,” Moyes said. “He’s joining a great club and he’ll find that when he gets there. It’s a huge club and a good club to work for.
“[His coaching style] adds to the variations of what we have got from different coaches from different parts of the world. But will it make Man Utd stronger? We’ll have to wait and see.”
West Ham travel across London to face Chelsea on Sunday afternoon with three of the squad’s four recognised centre backs sidelined by injury.
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Angelo Ogbonna has been out for almost the entire season with a knee issue, while Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop have recently suffered ankle problems that could keep them out for the rest of the season. That leaves only Craig Dawson available, meaning full backs Aaron Cresswell or Ben Johnson could move inside. “We’ve got some injuries,” Moyes said. “But all clubs get injuries at this time of season. So I’ve got to juggle and find a way of getting something which gives us a defensive setup.
In relation to whether there is a timescale on the return of Zouma and Diop, he added: “I’m not going to answer your question are they ruled over the season because that would be putting timescales on it, which you said I don’t do. But what I would say is obviously Issa’s got an injury and Kurt’s got an injury.
“So we’re trying not really to put any teamscales on it, because you’re always hoping you’re going to get your players back quicker. It’s really important that we can get them back and hopefully we get them back as soon as we possibly can.”
With next Thursday’s first leg against Frankfurt arguably the club’s biggest game in half a century, Moyes admitted there is a temptation to rest players but with qualification for Europe next season still on the line he is unlikely to make unnecessary changes. “It’s hard because we’re fighting on two fronts. We know there’s a huge prize if we can get through this. We’re trying to spread ourselves as thin as we can. It’s not been easy but we have a month to go in the season.”