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New Minnesota United sporting director Khaled El-Ahmad spoke with media Thursday for the first time since his November hiring and January arrival on the job. On the same day, he had an office wall separating the club's academy employees with the first team's torn down. Like the banning of hats and cell phones in the team dining room, call it a bit of culture building.

Two days before Saturday's home opener against MLS Cup champion Columbus, he spoke about his recent hiring of 32-year-old Manchester United assistant coach Eric Ramsay from England's Premier League, gave his vision for a club he said will play more like Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur than Manchester City, and other matters.

Here is an edited version of what he had to say:

On hiring Ramsay: "We trusted the search, which was quite long and very detailed. We thought Eric was best suited in intelligence. He's got an approach to football that aligns with the way I look at it. He has experience managing at the highest level possible, learning from some of the coaches he has been around, but also connecting and managing players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro. The fact he speaks several languages was quite important as well because we see ourselves as a global club and it's a global sport."

On whether Ramsay — the youngest coach in MLS by seven years — is too young: "I don't see him being too young. It's a great opportunity for him to put in place all the things he has experienced and learned. I didn't think about whether I want a coach that's 30, 40 or 50. I just want the best possible person and it is Eric."

On when Ramsay will start his new job: "[Manchester United] plays Man City on Sunday. Hopefully as soon after that. Hopefully his visa doesn't take as long as it did with mine. But look, we're in good hands. Whether it takes two, three, four, five weeks, I have full trust in our players and staff who are here today."

On his vision for the club: "I want us to be brave. I want us to show a bit of belief in what we're doing. Yes, we will adapt depending on who we play and where we play. People should know this is Minnesota United. The first half in Austin gives an idea what I'm looking for. I think alignment from top to bottom, from the owners all the way to academy. I just tore down a wall that was separating academy to the first team. That one is gone in a collaborative environment to make it simple."

On how Ramsay's coaching staff will be filled: "A collaborative decision. The way I do it is the head coach has the ability to bring one staff member. Then there will be an ongoing discussion how we fill it with the staff we have."

On interim coach Cam Knowles' future: "That's a discussion to be had. He has been great embracing the role. He has done a good job in a situation that from one perspective was uncertain. For others, full of potential. It depends on how you look at it. He chose the potential path."

On targeting the summer transfer window for personnel moves: "We need to look at how we scout and recruit and align it. We're all really focused on the players we have. Two players of quality (Emanuel Reynoso and Bongokuhle Hlongwane) haven't played yet, (Kervin) Arriaga hasn't, (Teemu) Pukki just came. We have a good strong squad. Once Eric comes and everything settles a little more around the first team, we'll assess and tackle the summer when it comes."

On whether the club will play in the U.S. Open Cup this season: "Right now I don't know. I would hope so, but I don't know. That's a conversation that's still to come from the league and U.S. Soccer."

On his belief in youth, with a new coach and several new players 23 and under: "I believe in quality. Yeah, I do want to play younger. But sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. There will be a better balance. If you want to call it youth, I call it quality. Whether you're 19, 20 or 24 doesn't really matter. As long as they're good enough, they'll be in and around the club."

On the 55 restaurant recommendations he received from introductory interviews with players and staff: "I was surprised how many players said Olive Garden."