Erik ten Hag’s attention to detail is causing a stir – Man United News And Transfer News

So much has changed around Old Trafford since Erik ten Hag arrived.

On the pitch, performances have come a long way from the despondency that marked the respective tail ends of Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reigns, and all of Ralf Rangnick’s.

While Ten Hag’s fresh ideas and modern approach to football have made a decisive difference, it’s arguable that his unique brand of micro-management has also played some part in getting the best out of each player.

The Daily Mail has detailed much of this in a recent report in which it described him as Manchester United’s “Mr Meticulous”.

Ten Hag can often be seen on the touchlines reiterating some instruction or the other – and while this may not be unique for a football manager at the highest level of the game, his brand of micro-management appears to be an approach that extends beyond touchline pedagogy.

The Dutchman has been known to be quite specific about details others may consider trivial. For instance, he insists that the grass must be cut to a specific length – one that he specifies himself.

Currently away on pre-season tour with his wards, Ten Hag’s fastidiousness has become all the more apparent.

For one, he has issued an edict banning reporters from shoving mics in his face intrusively, even insisting that all mics have their foam covers taken off so as to minimize their intrusiveness.

But while the manager might have his quirks, his attention to detail when it comes to the nitty gritty of player performance is truly unique and may bode well for United.

As players and staff have found out during the tour, Ten Hag has his eyes on everything including who’s wearing the correct colour of socks or not.

The players and football staff are emailed a schedule containing precise instructions on what kit to wear – down to the colour of socks. Offenders are spotted and dealt with by Ten Hag himself.

And that’s not all.

One of the defining components of Ten Hag’s system is energetic pressing, and he requires the squad to train at the required level of intensity to deliver this.

But it isn’t only the intensity of training that has increased. So also has the intensity of efforts devoted to player health, with an increased focus on nutrition, rest and recovery.

Player diets are tightly controlled, with each player having a dedicated diet plan, which of course, Ten Hag himself supervises.

While on tour, according to a Telegraph report, meals are prepared under the watchful eyes of United’s first team head chef, Omar Meziane, who is working with a team that includes one other chef and two nutritionists.

Meziane is a highly respected chef who has previously worked with a string of high-profile athletes including the England cricket team, the Great Britain rowing team, and so on.

In training, players are required to wear muscle sensors that detect fatigue as an early warning system for injuries. There is also a team of sports analysts and fitness specialists constantly seeking feedback on how they feel.

Ten Hag is also quite keen on keeping his players focused on football. While commercial activities are a mainstay of pre-season tours for a club of United’s stature, he has cut down the number of days allocated to commercial activities from three a week to just two.

Much has clearly changed in the way things are done around Old Trafford.  In 2014, as The Mirror reported at the time, a frustrated Louis Van Gaal – Ten Hag’s Dutch compatriot, publicly complained about the degree to which commercial activities were intruding into the football side of things. Ten Hag will have none of that.

In an interesting turn of events, the Telegraph report also mentions that just last week, Avram Glazer and his wife Jill turned up at the player’s base, then at the elite Pingry School, in Baskey Ridge, New Jersey. Their objective – to have a chat with the manager – was made to wait till Ten Hag was done with training.

United’s choice of Pingry School was deliberate. The school hosts a top-class suite of sporting facilities designed to nurture budding talent, but its first-class facilities, while required, are not why it was chosen.

As The Times reports, Erik ten Hag approved this venue primarily because it was remote, and would afford the players some space away from cameras and prying eyes. But not only were the players sequestered from the media and the public, but they were also separated from United’s commercial and business staff.

United fans will find this encouraging, as the club has often been run as though its commercial interests are more important than its football interests.

With some things changing around Old Trafford, thanks to Ten Hag, fans will be optimistic that the benefits will be borne out in next season’s results.

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