Since his arrival at the club, Erik ten Hag has undertaken to radically change the culture and turn Manchester United’s fortunes around.
While the Dutch manager is still a long way from doing so and eventually competing with the big boys in Europe, he has made considerable strides towards this objective.
Despite the Red Devils’ derby day drubbing at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s men at the Etihad, the mood is significantly better than it was months ago under the stewardship of interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
At the heart of Ten Hag’s revolution is a solid core of four players spearheading his vision internally within the dressing room.
Ducker reports, “Fernandes and Heaton, often the glue trying to hold things together last season, can see an improving culture.”
As per Ducker, the influence of De Gea and his deputy Heaton should not be undermined, with the two boasting of significant support in the trenches.
Ten Hag is however still the main man driving change and has earned the respect and fear in equal respect of his players and staff alike.
“The manager is seen as a genuine and fundamentally decent person but he’s tough, serious, driven, detail-oriented and unforgiving of unprofessionalism, sloppiness or lack of effort,” said a source close to the dressing room. “So you have a dynamic where he is genuinely liked and admired but he has everyone on their toes and there’s an edge about the place in a positive sense.”
Beyond Ten Hag’s four trusted lieutenants, his new signings have also made an impact on the other players, inspiring them to new levels.
Lisandro Martinez is for instance described as a meticulous individual that is extremely composed, vocal and positive. The defender is also credited as one willing to interact with players of all age groups and lend a helping hand when required to do so.
Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are quiet leaders who command respect and authority behind the scenes like Raphael Varane. As per Ducker, the two have made it nearly impossible for the formation of cliques that were rife during Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and Rangnick’s tenures.
In particular, Eriksen is one who has struck a close relationship with staff and with Fernandes, the man he partners in the middle of the park during games.
With regard to Tyrell Malacia and Antony, the two Eredivise acquisitions are said to have brought an extra edge, intensity and grit to training sessions, with their passion for the club evident every day in Carrington. Malacia is constantly the last player to depart the training complex.
United fans will be pleased that the new signings have wasted no time in imposing themselves within the club and uplifting others with their dynamic personalities. Hopefully, this will a long-lasting situation the ripple effects of which will lead to renewed success and continue to be felt for a long time.
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