ERIK TEN HAG has rebuilt Old Trafford into a fortress once again.
During Sir Alex Ferguson ’s Manchester United glory days, it was often said opposition teams would be beaten in the tunnel before kick-off.
Ten Hag has led United to 13 wins in a row at home in all competitions in his first season in charge.
Contrast that to last term, when the Red Devils failed to win 13 of their 26 matches on their own turf.
A 14th Old Trafford victory tonight would put Ten Hag’s men joint-second in the table but the Dutchman has warned they face a real ‘Roses’ battle against old enemy Leeds.
As things stand, United’s win rate at home in the Premier League under Ten Hag is an impressive 80 per cent.
That is their best since Fergie’s final season in charge in 2012-13.
United’s points-per-game return of 2.5 at Old Trafford this term is also on par with that title-winning campaign under the legendary Scot.
Ahead of United’s clash with Leeds, a buoyed Ten Hag said: “That was one of our aims this season, to get that back.
“It was one of our aims as a part of the process to restore Manchester United to the top.
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“Our home form is good. Away we have also good results — but we can still show even more personality and be more convincing.
“That’s the next step we have to make, to have the same personality on the pitch away as we have at home.
“But I’m really happy with the process at home, it’s great to have that connection at Old Trafford — but when we play away a lot of fans are following us.
“Nothing changes really. So in that fact, we can grow.”
It promises to be another cracking atmosphere at Old Trafford for the visit of Leeds, in the first part of a double header before the Red Devils head to Elland Road on Sunday.
Ten Hag knows the historic rivalry.
He said: “It’s the match of the Roses, it’s definitely a big game in this part of England.
“We have Manchester City and Liverpool — but for our fans this means so much. Our players are aware of that and know what to do.”
United face a club who have just ditched manager Jesse Marsch, with Chris Armas — the ex-Old Trafford coach under Ralf Rangnick — now in temporary charge.
Ten Hag has warned that having prepared for a certain style of opponent under Marsch his side must be wary of a different approach.
One of only two defeats for United since the Manchester derby loss to City on October 2 came when Aston Villa had just appointed a new boss in Spaniard Unai Emery.
Dutchman Ten Hag said: “When Jesse Marsch was at Leeds it was clear how they played — now it’s possible they change.
“We will only find out on the pitch but we need good anticipation for that. Better anticipation, for instance, than against Villa.
“The difference when Emery came in was they had a week to prepare and now they don’t have so much time.
“We will see — but we need to be proactive.”
Ten Hag does not agree with the sacking of Marsch, insisting such changes rarely work out for the better in football.
He said: “It’s always sad if a manager, a colleague, gets sacked.
“In general I don’t believe in it, that you sack a manager and get better results, most of the time it doesn’t work.
“Let the manager finish their work and make a good evaluation.
“But the pressure is high with decision-makers and they turn.
“But if you see the facts, most of the time it doesn’t work out well.”
There are certainly no question marks over Ten Hag’s position and he insists he is very much in it for the long term at Manchester United.
He said: “I always think about the long term to build a culture, to build a way to play — to develop players and develop the team.
“In the long term, also, in terms of contracts and transfer windows, because I think that is the way.
“I am not here for one year, I am here longer.
“I see it as a long-term project to build here and how long it is then I have to see. Today you can’t tell.”