Ten Hag rubs salt into Chelsea wounds with Man Utd takeover warning to Qatar

Erik ten Hag says Chelsea have provided the perfect demonstration this season of how massive investment without clear strategy can blow up in your face. Blues owner Todd Boehly has spent £600million in the transfer market since buying the club in May last year, sacked two permanent managers and been rewarded with a mid-table finish.

And with takeover at Manchester United seemingly imminent Ten Hag believes the west London club provide a timely lesson in how money is not always the answer. Asked whether Chelsea have shown the pitfalls of transition to new owners, Ten Hag said: “Absolutely, yes.

“You have to do the right things, you can have money but you have to do it and spend it in a smart way. You need to have a strategy behind it, otherwise the money doesn’t work.”

Chelsea’s scattergun approach to player recruitment clearly contributed to the dismissals of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter and interim boss Frank Lampard will follow having been unable to arrest the slide.

Yet Ten Hag, whose side need a point tonight to guarantee a top four finish and Champions League football next season, believes the fundamentals are in place at Old Trafford.

“I think we are in a good direction but also we can also learn from this season and we have to evaluate that after the season – to make the right conclusions for the future,” he added. “That is what we will definitely do that after the season.”

Ten Hag could be handed a significant transfer boost if United’s owners the Glazers decide to sell up, particularly if Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani’s Qatari-based bid is successful.

Yet the United boss is mindful of too much change in the squad for all that the club are looking at bringing in two defenders, two midfielders and a forward. United are negotiating on several fronts with back-up options if chief targets fall through or go elsewhere.

But Champions League football, which looks likely with a struggling Chelsea tonight and Fulham at home on Sunday in the final game, will aid the process. Ten Hag insisted players with the correct personality and character will be the most important factors.

“I want to have players with the right personalities who are outstanding and contribute at the highest levels, that is what we want and what we have to work for,” he said. “But in this moment, our focus is on Chelsea tomorrow and the rest is not so important.

“First, we have to win the game and get the job done. We have won one trophy but we want more, we want to compete with the best. We are still in a journey but we think we are in the right direction but it can always be better. Because good is not good enough.

“In the Premier League, you have to be one of the first four, and that’s not easy, many are competing for it, many think they should be in and we are one of them.”

Marcus Rashford has returned to training after missing two matches with a hamstring strain and illness and could return to the starting line up.


De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Shaw; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Rashford

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