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Mark White

Manchester United fans need to 'stop living in the past', says Dutch coach

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag looks on during the UEFA Champions League match between F.C. Copenhagen and Manchester United at Parken Stadium on November 08, 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Manchester United fans are living in the past and need to realise it's not the 1990s anymore, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea more attractive destinations for players.

That's the savage conclusion that one former Premier League coach has reached from watching the Red Devils this season, with Manchester United now needing a miracle to progress from the Champions League group stage. After a 4-3 defeat to Copenhagen in Denmark, Erik ten Hag is perilously close to the chop, according to reports.

And the legendary Ruud Gullit, who played and managed in English football, has had some harsh words for the three-time European champions, their fans and those who comment on them on television, telling them that the good times won't be returning any time soon.

Roony Bardghji of Copenhagen struck the winner in Copenhagen's 4-3 victory (Image credit: James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

“The best players don’t go to Manchester United anymore,” Gullit told William Hill's podcast, Up Front with Simon Jordan. “They go elsewhere and now Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have the best players. United don’t have all of the top players, so to rule in the way that they did in the 90s is no longer possible. 

“Everybody around United wants them to be the best and they are living too much in the past. They have former players on television telling them that that’s the case which makes it difficult for a coach because they want those times to come back, but they won’t come back, at least not now.”

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As well as not being impressed with how things are developing at Old Trafford, Gullit has suggested that Ten Hag was an odd choice for manager. The 53-year-old is relatively inexperienced, having only managed in the Eredivisie previously, with Ajax being the biggest job on his CV before taking the reins in England.

“Manchester United were changing coaches for all manner of reasons and then all of a sudden they took on Erik ten Hag, which was also a surprise for people in Holland,” he continued.

Ruud Gullit has some stinging words for Manchester United (Image credit: Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“I think he has a difficult task. He didn’t have a background which suggested that he would be able to deal with the pressures of managing Manchester United, so for United to pick him was a risk for the club as well as ten Hag himself.

“He comes from the east of Holland, he talks in a different way to most people in the country, which meant that going to Ajax in Amsterdam was actually difficult for him, but he managed to do really well. He was very calm and did his thing and he almost won the Champions League with Ajax, beating the likes of Real Madrid on the way.”

More Manchester United stories

Scott McTominay has revealed how Manchester United's players were motivated to beat Fulham this weekend.

Marcus Rashford missed that game, though, and Erik ten Hag has had some strong words for one of his star men.

Meanwhile, a United wonderkid has been linked with a shock move to Manchester City.

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