New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has had a blistering life to start at the helm of England’s biggest sporting enterprise.
Ten Hag has had a wonderful pre-season, with his side winning three out of four games played. Perhaps what has caught the eye of most United fans has been the team’s renewed vigour and the energy with which they have been playing.
The team has looked almost unrecognizable, with the new manager’s tactical tenets and football philosophy already visible to all. Not only have the players looked to be playing with a more identifiable style of play, hallmarked by the creation of chance after chance, high counter-pressing, and winning the ball back, but they have also looked to be in a more uplifted mood and displaying a positive attitude.
In a report by The Manchester Evening News, the manager is said to have been central to all these changes. The 52-year-old is described as ‘having an aura about him.’
“Those who interact with Ten Hag regularly say he has an aura about him and his concise manner means every word carries weight. United staff were impressed Ten Hag’s winning mentality was that intense over a friendly [vs. Aston Villa] and they feel he has already raised standards.”
Samuel Luckhurst also provided insight into the Dutchman’s management and coaching methods. “When Ten Hag is on the grass he might as well be on an island. United media staff made a beeline for him before the session and he brusquely gave them short shrift. It is all about football with him. At the WACA, Ten Hag checked the measurement of the cones that had been laid out by the coaches prior to training.”
“They [club sources] have been struck by how obsessively dedicated he is to transforming United into a credible force again. A routine as minor as the players putting their feet up on their hotel bed after a morning session is viewed as a portion of training by the fastidious Ten Hag.”
Within the report by Luckhurst, insight was also provided on the manager’s relationship with the players, who have so far evidently taken to his methods like a duck to water.
“Ten Hag is not particularly verbose with the players, either. Dressing room sources believe he is feeling them out in training, described as more intense and structured. There is no doubting who is in charge, though. Ten Hag becomes more authoritative as training develops and he has been described as much more involved than previous managers.”
“Many United players had reservations about Ten Hag as they were unsure whether his management matched his coaching. Those concerns have been quickly allayed.”
The Dutchman’s persona has also appealed to the United staff. “Staff have encountered a warm side to Ten Hag and found him to be very empowering, developing a good rapport with existing members and those he has brought in. Club sources have spoken of Ten Hag always having time for them and cultivating a culture of integration so everyone feels involved.”
United fans should be encouraged by their new manager, who looks like the real deal and on whom they are banking to return their club to its former glory.