Ten Hag inherits a team coming off the back of their worst ever Premier League season, with a summer of high turnover and revolution anticipated. Several out of contract stars are set to move on, including the likes of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba.
In an emotional interview with his former club, the departing Ajax boss looked back on his four-and-a-half-year stint in the Dutch capital and some of the most poignant moments of his tenure. One such moment was a snap of Ten Hag talking to Ronaldo, whilst he was at Juventus, following a Champions League tie back in 2019.
“That was an interesting chat," Ten Hag told Ajax's media team. “I think he could appreciate the way we played. He's a true winner and a magnificent player. I can't wait to work with him."
Asked if he could recall the conversation, the Dutchman added: “I think it was about a decision the referee made that went our way. I made a joke about it."
In a wide ranging interview, Ten Hag opened up on the blueprint which saw Ajax return to prominence in the Champions League, something which he will be expected to do in his new role.
“We've set a standard, the bar is high and we've made progress," he explained. “The ambition and objective was to make Ajax Europe-proof again. That was my objective and the one imposed on me by the club's management.
“We started working on that by changing the culture, we added structure to the way we play, with the playing style as the foundation. We enforced it every day by demanding the most from everyone and we made progress and became Europe-proof. But we were more than that, we've made the knock-out stage twice."
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