That Erik ten Hag is engineering a cultural reboot at Manchester United is known by all.
The Dutchman is doing a stellar job of reversing United’s fortunes and the results are translating onto the pitch. United are currently on a sublime red-hot winning streak.
The team has won 14 of its last 17 games and Ten Hag recently became the fastest United manager to win twenty games – a feat he achieved in 27 matches. In this statistic, he’s vastly ahead of other United head honchos, including Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.
Sky Sports News reporter Melissa Reddy spoke to an insider who revealed the extent of the transformation Ten Hag is spearheading at Old Trafford.
Reddy reports that the source told her, “The gaffer is excellent at planning. Having worked under so many managers and being a part of different dressing rooms, I would say his biggest strength is how he reacts – especially in dark moments.”
Reddy reports that the staffer’s claim is backed by a senior United player who relayed to her, “Ten Hag’s clear, confident talk at half-time despite the state of play [in the defeat against Manchester City] changed our mindset, but moreover showed us he is a real leader and believes in us during the worst moments, maybe when we don’t know how to believe in ourselves.”
In the reverse fixture mauling against City, Ten Hag told his players at halftime that their attitude was far from ideal and that they had thrown in the towel 10 minutes into the game.
The Dutchman held a series of individual and collective meetings in which he told some of his players cold hard truths regarding their performances.
Reddy indicates on this endeavour, “Ten Hag was scathing as he broke down the mistakes, and in a departure from the United we’ve known post-Ferguson, the dressing room did not take it personally nor look for ways to publicly or privately scapegoat others.”
The dressing room instead took it well and viewed it as an education rather than an undressing.
The Old Trafford insider also hailed the United manager’s handling of the Cristiano Ronaldo saga.
Ronaldo coveted incredible power under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick and he got it. Sky Sports reveal that as per the insider, every department from medical to media was “there to serve Ronaldo.”
Ten Hag, unlike his predecessors, would have none of it and what ensued was a power struggle between himself and Ronaldo.
Ten Hag won that particular duel with flying colours and came out stronger than before. The 37-year-old Ronaldo is currently plying his trade in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr.
Ten Hag’s revolution has extended to sporting fines beyond just financial ramifications. The Dutchman sees no point in simply fining multi-millionaires. An example is when he dropped Marcus Rashford from the starting XI against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
A repentant Rashford responded appropriately when he came on in the second half and scored United’s winner at the Molineux.
Beyond the players, Ten Hag also command authority from senior figures in the hierarchy. The 52-year-old has the final say on all transfers and is slowly moulding the team in his image and liking.
He also took over the reserve team to provide a pathway for youngsters into the senior side.