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Erik ten Hag makes his first comments after interview with Manchester United

Manchester United have spoken to Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as the Old Trafford club step up their search for a permanent manager.

Kevin Palmer

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is the hot favourite to take over at Manchester United this summer and now the Dutchman has spoken for the first time about his links with the Old Trafford club.

Ten Hag met with United officials last month as they look to identify their leading contender to take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick, with Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino also believed to be on their shortlist.

Now Ten Hag has revealed he has yet to decide on his long-term future, as he was quizzed on his links with United.

"My focus is currently only on Ajax, but in football you never know," said Ten Hag. "I don't want to rule anything out. I'm currently employed here at Ajax to perform. With the cup final against Eindhoven, we still have eight finals left and I need all my energy for that. Anything else would just be a distraction.

"I know that everything in football can change from one day to the next. If at some point I should decide to take the next step, I hope that people here will understand."

When asked to confirm whether he had met with United he added: "Everyone knows each other in the industry. There are always talks with representatives from other clubs, that's normal.

"Manchester United is a great club with great fans, but I can only repeat myself: my full focus is completely on Ajax. We are already planning for the new season. I've sat down with Ajax after every season so far. That will also be the case this time.

"I can say that Ajax and Erik ten Hag are very happy with each other at the moment."

Former United manager Louis van Gaal went public with his suggestion that Ten Hag would be wise to avoid a move to Manchester after his experience at the Old Trafford club ended with his sacking in 2016.

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