Erik ten Hag ‘shakes head’ at Man Utd star as new boss watches Crystal Palace struggles

In pictures: Crystal Palace v Man Utd

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Erik ten Hag was spotted shaking his head on a number of occasions during Manchester United’s final-day Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace on Sunday, according to reports. The Dutchman was in attendance at Selhurst Park to run the rule over his new club but did not look too impressed with their on-pitch efforts during the first half in south London.

United went a goal behind shortly before the interval when Wilfried Zaha outmuscled Diogo Dalot before finishing in the bottom corner to snatch the lead for Palace, who had nothing to play for in the final round of Premier League fixtures. Ten Hag was seen aiming most of his frustration towards left-back Alex Telles, though, as the former Ajax boss watched the Red Devils fail to score prior to the half-time whistle, according to journalist Sam Pilger.

It is said that Ten Hag shook his head on more than a few occasions at Selhurst Park as he saw United slip behind despite going close to breaking the deadlock before Zaha’s goal in the opening 45 minutes. Edinson Cavani almost managed to beat Vicente Guaita during the early stages of the match but was cruelly denied when the Palace goalkeeper managed to shift his momentum and push the ball away from danger at the last second.

Ten Hag was believed to have been watching United at Palace alongside former Derby County boss Steve McLaren, who is expected to join the 52-year-old’s backroom team at Old Trafford over the coming days. The former was mobbed by supporters as he arrived at the stadium prior to kick-off before he was ushered through by security and into his seat in the stands.

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Mitchell van der Gaag, who has served as Ajax’s assistant manager under the watchful eye of Ten Hag, is expected to join McLaren at United in a coaching capacity in advance of next season. Van der Gaag was also in attendance at Selhurst Park in the seat directly next to his superior and will be hoping to play a significant role in restoring United’s former glories over the next few years.

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Ten Hag will imminently replace Ralf Rangnick as United’s new permanent boss at the end of the German coach’s disastrous interim spell following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal back in November of last year. The incoming Red Devils manager has already been warned over the scale of the task at hand, though, with Arsenal icon Paul Merson questioning his ability to put things right in advance of Sunday’s match against Palace.

“It’s going to be a hard, hard road,” Merson told Sky Sports when quizzed on Ten Hag’s hopes of achieving success at Old Trafford. “This is a five-year plan, he’s got to get going next season and make sure he’s got to do better than they did this season.

“There’s a lot to be done, you can’t build a house on muddy ground. He’s got to put the foundations down, he’s got to be here five years, he’s got to plan and in five years’ time United have to win the Premier League. But it goes in little steps, don’t start trying to run before you can walk again.”

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