Erik ten Hag will aim to do something no Manchester United boss has done since Alex Ferguson when he travels to Manchester City on Sunday for a derby he is eagerly anticipating.
Ten Hag has led Manchester United to four consecutive Premier League victories after a shaky start at Old Trafford.
But, in order to continue that record, he must end a run of poor outcomes for United managers in their first Manchester derbies.
Ferguson won the first league derby in March 1987, but each of his successors – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Ralf Rangnick – have lost on their debuts.
Only Chelsea and Liverpool (both 18) have won more Premier League games versus United than their neighbors (17), who have won the last three meetings.
Ten Hag, on the other hand, is looking forward to the task, as he told reporters on Friday: “I played many derbies.” I know what they are, what rivals do to one another.
“I know it’s the most crucial game for the fans here in Manchester.” It piques my interest. I’d want to take part in these games.
“It’s a good fight with a lot of intensity.” You go to great lengths to win that game.”
City have won their last seven home league games, scoring at least three times in each, but Ten Hag is determined to concentrate on his own team’s strengths.
“The strategy is for us to search within,” he explained.
“The mindset at Manchester United is that we want to win every game, as I’ve stated several times here. Nothing else matters on Sunday.
“We have to do our best; we have to do our best with our style of play, our rules, and our ideals.”
“We have a good game plan; now it’s time to execute.” We must do it. We want to attain the outcome, and we know that in order to reach the result, we must do everything well.”
Similarly, Ten Hag was careful not to dwell on Erling Haaland, the City sensation who has scored a hat-trick in each of his last two home league meetings. No Premier League player has ever scored three consecutive home trebles.
“We don’t play Haaland; we play Man City,” Ten Hag explained. “They have a team with more than 11 players, but we do as well.”
“We are confident in our ability, and if we work together in and out of possession, we can defeat our opponents.” That is the mindset we must have before we begin the game.”