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‘We know we need to be better’ – Manchester United plan to capitalise on Jurgen Klopp Liverpool exit

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Erik ten Hag spoke of eras ending when he took the Man Utd job and now he has the chance to take advantage of that happening at Liverpool with Jurgen Klopp leaving.

Erik ten Hag insists Manchester United must keep working behind the scenes to “reconstruct” the club to be able to take advantage of the end of an era at Liverpool after Jurgen Klopp’s surprise decision to leave at the end of the season.

Klopp’s departure after nine years in charge at Anfield could open the door for some of their Premier League rivals to capitalise on any loss of momentum or drop in standards at the club and United know all about how the departure of a manager can throw the best-laid plans off track.

They are still trying to recover from the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 and after a good first season in charge, Ten Hag is finding it tougher going this season, but there is a sense of progress being made following the investment from INEOS.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has sent out a statement of intent with the appointment of Omar Berrada as chief executive, enticing a key figure away from Manchester City, and Sir Dave Brailsford is continuing to review the football operations at Old Trafford and more changes are likely.

The energy that INEOS have bought to United could be beneficial in trying to close the gap to the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, although Ten Hag knows the focus has to be on what they can do better, rather than what is happening elsewhere.

“We have to look to ourselves and keep working and reconstructing this club,” he said. “We know we need to be better. Last season we were over-performing. In the summer we were in a very good place, nobody could expect what we achieved last season.

“Now we have a downfall and we have to stop this, but I think it belongs to the project.

“Regarding Klopp, it’s great you can keep the initiative, you keep everything in your own hands to step down in the moment you want it, so when you want it an era has come to an end.”

Ten Hag has suffered a difficult second season in charge, with injuries forcing him into constant team changes and the strategic review conducted by the Glazers was hanging over the club until Christmas Eve.

But he refused to be drawn on whether success could have been achieved had that process been concluded earlier.

“It’s difficult to say – its hypothetical, and so doesn’t make sense to talk about this,” he said.

“[Instead] talk about where we are in the current situation, the actuality, but be 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.”

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