The former Ajax and Liverpool player Jari Litmanen believes that Erik ten Hag can reverse Manchester United’s fortunes but that change will take time.

After a successful stint in charge of Ajax, Ten Hag was named manager at Old Trafford in April.

However, in his first Premier League match as manager, Ten Hag’s team was humiliated at home by Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 on Sunday.

Litmanen had two spells with Ajax during an illustrious playing career, winning five Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and a Champions League crown.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the UEFA fan park in Helsinki ahead of Wednesday’s Super Cup, Finland great Litmanen joked when asked if he believed Ten Hag would be a success at United: “I am for Liverpool, so hopefully not!

“I hope the best for Erik. He is a good person and a good coach, he showed that at Ajax, but he needs time.

“They are a big club, and they will get back to the top, but they need time. Competition is high in England so it is going to be difficult, but Erik is a good manager.”

Litmanen also raised the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Old Trafford, despite reportedly asking for a move so he can play in the Champions League this season.

“We will see if he can get the best out of Ronaldo,” Litmanen added. “I haven’t spoken to Erik so who knows? Maybe Cristiano stays the whole season, he showed he is one of the best goalscorers in history and if he leaves, then someone else will have to take that responsibility.”

As a member of the Liverpool team that won the EFL Cup, FA Cup, and UEFA Cup treble in the 2000–01 season, Litmanen also spent 18 months there.

Despite his limited playing time at Anfield, Litmanen did play with Reds legend and current Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, and he anticipates that Gerrard will be a successful coach in the Premier League.

“Stevie G [Gerrard] is a big name in English football and Liverpool history and he for sure has something to give English football [as a manager],” he said.

“I was happy to play with him for one and a half years and he is someone who has a great personality.”


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