The ‘brilliant’ trait that Erik ten Hag and Sir Alex Ferguson share
Gary Neville believes Erik ten Hag’s “brilliant” use of substitutions is reminiscent of both Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.
The Dutchman secured his first trophy as Manchester United manager with victory in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United.
Casemiro opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark at Wembley, with Marcus Rashford soon adding a second before half-time.
From there, Ten Hag’s side rarely appeared under threat, holding on to seal a 2-0 victory as the shrewd half-time introduction of Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right back helped Manchester United see things out.
Neville was left impressed by the manager’s prompt intervention, seeing encouraging signs that remind the former England international of two of the Premier League’s most successful managers.
“[Sir Alex Ferguson] was unbelievable at affecting momentum within games and Jose [Mourinho] was great at Chelsea interfering with games with his subs,” Neville tweeted.
“Wouldn’t say [Erik ten Hag] is there yet (due to both SAF and Jose achievements) but he makes brilliant substitutions and changes within matches. He doesn’t wait!”
The cup triumph continues an encouraging period for the Old Trafford club after Ten Hag’s summer appointment as manager.
After an up-and-down start, the former Ajax boss has settled in and guided the club up to third in the Premier League, just six points behind cross-town rivals Manchester City and with a game in hand.
Neville feels that Ten Hag’s understanding of in-game management is particularly developed, suggesting that many coaches struggle to see the bigger picture from the touchline.
“One of the hardest things I found as a coach (their were many) was reading the game at ground level!” the former Valencia manager said. “Sir Alex Ferguson used to watch a match first half from the stands to gain a clearer understanding of the game. He even raised the dugouts at OT. So many coaches make subs that we all think: ‘Why have they done that?’
“I’m convinced it’s because they can’t see the game properly . A lot of the time you see legs and bodies and not really what’s happening. That’s why a lot of clubs have the coach in the directors box watching for them to spot the details.
“It’s one of the hardest things to do as a coach to get your subs right. Watching a game from the perfect viewing point and with the tactical camera gives you an advantage in reading the game. Managers used to go in the stand but now the perception is ‘you have to be down with the players’.”