‘Can’t go into detail’: Ten Hag discreet on new deal discussions with Ratcliffe

<span>Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images

Erik ten Hag has refused to disclose if he has discussed a new contract with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, though Manchester United’s manager accepts being on trial like at any major club.

The Dutchman is enduring a turbulent second season in charge that has placed his job under pressure. United are in eighth, 11 points behind Aston Villa in fourth, and have been knocked out of Europe and the Carabao Cup, leaving the FA Cup as the only realistic chance of silverware.

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Ten Hag’s current deal will have 12 months left in the summer. He has held talks with Ratcliffe, whose purchase of a stake in the club is expected to be ratified by the Premier League next month. The Dutchman was asked if his conversations with the Ineos owner included speaking about new terms.

“We speak about many subjects but I can’t go into detail, especially when it is so personal,” he said. “First, the most important thing is the club. It’s about the club, about the team and how we have to work to high standards to achieve our targets. It’s not about any individual person.”

Ratcliffe is undertaking a review of United to understand how the club’s fortunes can be reversed. Due to this, Ten Hag was asked if he is on trial. “When you’re involved in top-level football I think you know that you have to prove yourself every day – and that counts for everyone who is working for this club,” the manager said.

If Ratcliffe’s buy-in is made official it will end a protracted 15-month sale process conducted by the Glazers, the majority owners. Ten Hag would not be drawn on whether his side would be title challengers without this distraction.

“It’s difficult to say – it’s hypothetical, and so it doesn’t make sense to talk about this,” he said. “[Instead] talk about where we are in the current situation, the actuality, but beware that you are in the project and that we have to follow the process.

“Sometimes when you have the downfall, you have to turn it around, we now have to work for that. [But] I agree with you – that’s so important, that you have a foundation.”