Erik ten Hag, the Ajax manager who learned from Guardiola

We go through the brief history of Dutch manager Erik ten Hag, the Ajax coach who learned a few tricks from Pep Guardiola in Germany.

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag’s style of play might look slightly familiar to you when you first laid eyes on it, it took us only a few minutes to recognize it.

The Ajax football academy is the most prolific in football history but this new generation has some details in the way they play that are nothing like the Ajax from old.

This slight change in philosophy has a lot to do with Erik ten Hag’s academic upbringing as a professional manager and his time shared with a certain individual.

We know that Pep Guardiola is kind of a ‘persona non-grata’ in football right now, but there is no way of denying his unquestionable success and influence in football.

Despite his inability to win Champions League trophies outside of Barcelona, Pep Guardiola has made a tremendous impact in the world of managers due to his offensive style of play.

When people started noticing the pattern in Ajax’s squad this season, Ten Hag himself silenced the ones who wanted to give Johan Cruyff all the credit and named Guardiola as his biggest influence as reported by Diario AS.

The Dutch manager had a two’year period in which he learned from the Catalan manager at Bayern Munich before coming to Ajax for his second managerial job in top-flight football.

Those two years were perfect for the Dutch coach to get as much information from the Catalan manager as humanly possible.

After a few years of trying to perfect this method and getting some of his ideas in the squad, we can safely say that Ten Hag found his own voice.

This Ajax squad has some very interesting variables when compared to Pep Guardiola’s style, mainly with a more solid defensive backline that doesn’t only worry about attacking.

Erik ten Hag took some time to understand that keeping the ball is not always necessary.

The manager realized that finding the ideal moment to take it back from the opponent is key to reach the objective.

Not defending well is arguably one of Pep Guardiola’s biggest flaws as a manager and he still doesn’t seem to understand how important it is.

Ten Hag values defense just as much as his creative midfielders and he gives more power to his defensive players above the rest.

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This is the reason Matthijs de Ligt is so important in Ten Hag’s schematics when he plans a game against any opponent.

The only detail that this Ajax squad lacks is a world-class striker but they can totally get to the Champions League final with what they already have.

What happens to Ten Hag after this season?

As one of the most powerful clubs in Dutch football, it has become historically frustrating for Ajax to keep their best player in the squad.

Modern football and the massive juggernauts from the most powerful leagues in the world have constantly stolen their very best players.

We just saw Frenkie de Jong get signed by FC Barcelona during the winter transfer window and De Ligt might be next, this could be a major reason for Ten Hag to also find a better place where he can win the biggest trophies.

The Dutch manager has grown to fast in European football, that making him a manager for a major club doesn’t sound too crazy at this point.

Erik ten Hag has the perfect qualities to possibly coach FC Barcelona someday and follow the footsteps of Ajax legends such as Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff, and more recently Frank Rijkaard.

The Dutch manager might try to keep the players he still has inside the club for another season or two, but the board will soon start to finish the dismantling of yet another great generation of ‘Ajaccied’ players.

Let’s try to enjoy this season’s squad that is currently considered the most beautiful to watch in European football, all thanks to what Ten Hag learned from Guardiola.

What do you think about Erik ten Hag accepting he learned his concepts from Pep Guardiola? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.

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