Erik ten Hag is confident incoming minority owners INEOS want to work with him despite admitting he has yet to speak to Manchester United’s new head of football operations.
The Old Trafford giants announced on Christmas Eve that a long-awaited deal has been reached for Sir Jim Ratcliffe to buy a 25 per cent stake in the Premier League club.
INEOS is taking responsibility for United’s footballing operations under the terms of a deal that is expected to take four to six weeks to receive regulatory approval.
Sir Dave Brailsford, INEOS’ director of sport, was at Old Trafford on Boxing Day for the stunning 3-2 turnaround against Aston Villa, and Ten Hag says he will be speaking to the new minority owners soon.
“The schedule is so condensed so I didn’t have the time so far to speak with them, but it will come and I look forward (to it),” the United boss, who has been the subject of scrutiny and criticism this season, said.
“They want to work with me, I want to work with them. We will have the conversations, the meetings, so we will see.”
Asked if he is expecting INEOS to be a regular presence at United’s Carrington training base, Ten Hag said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest: “I’m focused on the game so far.
“So, I said, no, in this moment I don’t want to have distractions but in the coming days, weeks, there will be time for this and then I know more.
“But I think it’s a good thing, it’s very positive and, as I said, we are looking really forward to work together.
“INEOS wants to work with me, in this structure, and I want to work with them.”
Manchester United reaches agreement for Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, to acquire up to a 25% shareholding in the Company.#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 24, 2023
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission filing related to the deal contains a provision guaranteeing that INEOS will be consulted on football matters at United in the interim.
This includes “appointing, dismissing or accepting the resignation of any director of football or first team manager of the company” as well as entering into or continuing any discussion concerning the purchase or sale of any player.
“We always want to win and it doesn’t matter who is in the lead (of the club),” Ten Hag said.
“We are appointed here to win, so in this area we need a winning culture no matter who is in the lead, no matter who is the owner. But, of course, the owners can inspire you.”
United head to Forest looking to build on Tuesday’s thrilling triumph against Villa at the end of a topsy-turvy 2023.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 26, 2023
“I don’t think (players will be back), so it will be a similar squad as we had against Villa,” Ten Hag said.
“You see with them the reaction when the new manager (Nuno Espirito Santo) is coming in, you see the spirit. We have to be ready for that and it’s always about us but be aware of it.
“Be aware they have the right spirit and they built the confidence but that is what we did as well, so we have to continue in the performance.”
The trip to the City Ground could prove Andre Onana’s final United appearance for a while after the goalkeeper was named in Cameroon’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
“The situation is that we’re talking,” Ten Hag added.
“We have good relationships with all the federations – it’s about Sofyan (Amrabat), it’s about Hannibal (Mejbri), it’s about Andre – so we are talking with them.”