Anger in the stands and capitulation on the pitch - the challenges facing Man Utd's Erik ten Hag

Erik Ten Hag was announced as United's new manager on Thursday. Credit: PA images

Erik ten Hag will be welcomed warmly by Manchester United supporters, who always offer a great degree of support to their managers. Even in difficult times.

But that doesn't mean their new leader will walk into a friendly atmosphere.

Before the recent Norwich game, thousands of fans marched outside Old Trafford in protest against the club's owners and even boycotted the first 17 minutes of the game.

Seventeen years of Glazer family ownership has done nothing to ease the friction between the boardroom and the stands, especially since their failed attempt to join a hugely unpopular European Super League last year.

Manchester United Supporters' Trust is still waiting for details of the fan share scheme which was proposed by United co-chairman Joel Glazer to appease fans after Super League was binned.

Another protest is planned around the Chelsea fixture.

Old Trafford

It's also interesting to see that the Glazers have only offered Ten Hag a three-year contract.

This may be in keeping with the deal offered to their past 3 managers but, given the size of the rebuild needed at Old Trafford, you wonder what the Dutchman is expected to achieve in that time.

Perhaps the cost of sacking managers has left United cautious about longer term deals.

When they ditched David Moyes just eight months into a six-year contract, it cost the club £7million in compensation.

Losing Louis Van Gaal a year before the end of his three-year tenure cost them £8.6m, Jose Mourinho's 18-month premature departure was worth an eye-watering £15m and Ole Solskjaer's sacking - six months into a new three-year deal - cost £7.5m.

That's £38m in less than a decade.

After United's humiliating 4-0 defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool, interim manager Ralf Rangnick made it clear that 8-10 players would need to be shown the door in the summer.

And replaced, not just with high quality players, but those which fit the particular system of the incoming manager.

The new manager has been signed on a three-year deal. Credit: PA images

He pointed out that Liverpool were the shining example of what can be achieved when you approach signings with this structure.

But what he also made clear was that it takes several transfer windows to transform a club into one which seriously challenges for the Premier League and Champions League.

Given that managers often cite January as a difficult time to recruit specific targets, this gives Ten Hag just three summer transfer windows to create a team capable of climbing above Liverpool and Manchester City. The first being just weeks away.

So while Ten Hag may say that he remains focused on his job with Ajax until the end of the season.

You can imagine he will be hurriedly penning one of the longest shortlists in transfer window history.