Ajax head coach and rumoured Manchester United target Erik ten Hag said “it’s always nice when you are linked to clubs with this status”, though the Dutchman stressed his commitment to the Eredivisie champions.
Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly the favourite to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked on Sunday following a humiliating 4-1 Premier League rout at Watford.
However, Ten Hag is believed to be United’s second choice to fill the United vacancy should the Red Devils miss out on Pochettino.
Ajax’s Ten Hag has impressed in his time in Amsterdam, where he has delivered two Eredivisie titles and embarked on a memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.
Ten Hag’s men have been the entertainers of Europe this term, dazzling their way into the Champions League round of 16, while topping the Eredivisie ahead of rivals PSV on goal difference.
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) November 23, 2021
Having fielded questions about United’s reported interest after Sunday’s 5-0 demolition of RKC Waalwijk, Ten Hag was again quizzed by reporters on the eve of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Besiktas.
“It’s always nice when you are linked to clubs with this status,” the 51-year-old Ten Hag – previously linked to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Newcastle United – said during a news conference in Istanbul.
Ten Hag added: “I am busy with Ajax. No one contacted me, I can confirm this. I want to win titles here.
“If we approach this game like you do [the media], we will have a very difficult night,” he said.
Ajax will be looking to become only the second Dutch outfit to win their opening five games of a European Cup/Champions League campaign, after Feyenoord in 1971-72.
The Amsterdam club have produced more shots from high turnovers (11) – sequences that start within 40 metres of the opponent’s goal – than any other team in the 2021-22 Champions League.
Ten Hag’s high-pressing side have also scored two goals following high turnovers; one of only two teams to have netted more than once from these situations (along with Real Madrid, two).