The last Manchester United manager to win the zmanchester derby on debut in the league was Sir Alex Ferguson, but Erik ten Hag wants to follow in his footsteps.
When Erik ten Hag travels to Manchester City on Sunday for a derby he is extremely excited about, he will try to accomplish something no Manchester United manager has since Alex Ferguson.
Ten Hag has led United to four straight victories in the Premier League after a shaky start at Old Trafford. But in order to continue that streak, he will need to reverse a dismal run of outcomes for United managers in their debuts in the Manchester derby.
United great Ferguson prevailed in the first meeting of this kind in March 1987, but each of his successors—David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Ralf Rangnick—lost their league derby debuts.
Only Chelsea and Liverpool (both 18) have triumphed over United in the Premier League more times than their closest neighbors (17), who have won the last three encounters.
However, as Ten Hag told reporters on Friday, he is looking forward to the challenge:
"I played many derbies. I know what they are, what rivals are doing to each other.
"I know it's the most important game here in the Manchester area for the fans. It excites me. I want to be involved in these games.
"It's a good fight that gives so much energy. You do everything to win that game."
City have won their past seven home league games, scoring at least three times in each of them, but Ten Hag is determined to focus on his own side's merits.
"The approach is for us to look to ourselves," he said.
"The approach at Man United is we want to win every game, and that message I've already told several times here. For Sunday, it's nothing else.
"We have to perform our best; with our way of playing, our rules, our principles, we have to do our best.
"We have made a good game plan, then it's about execution. We have to do it. We want to get the result, and we know if we want to get the result, we have to do it 100 per cent well."
The City sensation Erling Haaland, who has scored a hat-trick in each of his last two home league games, was also something that Ten Hag was careful not to spend too much time worrying about.
"We don't play against Haaland; we play against Man City," Ten Hag added. "They have a team of more than 11 players, but we have also.
"We are confident of our capabilities, and if we act as a team, in and out of possession, then we can beat our opponents. That is the belief we have to take with us when we start the game."