CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
Ten Hag is headstrong, yet even he couldn’t fail to be hugely influence by Guardiola. Between 2013 and 2015, the Dutchman was manager of Bayern Munich’s reserve team while Pep was at the helm of the first team. Ten Hag once said: “His philosophy is sensational, what he did in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now with Manchester City, that attacking and attractive style sees him win a lot. It’s this structure that I’ve tried to implement with Ajax.”
A close friend of Ten Haag’s, first playing alongside him at FC Twente, then managing him, and later appointing him as his assistant at the Eredivisie club. When Rutten became manager of PSV, he took Ten Hag with him. Known as the best trainer in the Netherlands but, like Ten Hag, his presentation lets him down.
Ten Hag’s coach at De Graafschap in the early1990s. Under him, the Doetinchem-based club played like a lower-league English side, demanding discipline, a fighting spirit and a tactic that boiled down to: go straight for the opponent’s goal. Far from the type of play that Ten Hag uses at Ajax, but he had an enormous respect for Kistemaker. “Simon helped me during my career, he was convincing, always played in a recognisable style and everybody knew what he should do.” He remained close to Kistemaker, and spoke at his funeral last November.