It is safe to say Manchester United were in turmoil at the end of last season as they finished a lowly sixth in the Premier League while breaking numerous unwanted records.
Then interim manager Ralf Rangnick had even suggested that United needed an open-heart surgery while requiring at least 10 more players and more than a couple of transfer windows to get the house in order.
In walked Erik ten Hag and it has taken him one summer window and less than eight months to get the Red Devils back on track with the Old Trafford side breaking their six-year trophy drought by bringing home the Carabao Cup on Sunday.
ETH has control over the club
It has not been an easy ride for the Dutchman, having to exert control over such a gigantic club and players with huge egos but diminishing returns on the pitch.
But the former Ajax coach has not only dealt with the various controversies but also got rid of a couple of bad eggs and got the players back playing for the badge.
It is safe to say that the Dutch boss is a stickler when it comes to discipline with more than a few players bearing the brunt of his ire while he even forced the club to tweak its sponsorship policy before the cup final.
🗣️ “Manchester United is based on success and he’s going the right way about it. His signings have been really good, that was important and he’s got a grip of the club.” #MUFC pic.twitter.com/YZGJhNBN2k
— UnitedReds (@UnitedRedscom) February 27, 2023
But as the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out to Sky Sports, the United manager has been helped in his new role by someone who has had previous experience of sitting in the Old Trafford dug-out.
Steve McClaren was assistant coach back during one of United’s most glory-filled years in which they won the famed Treble. So he knows his way around the place.
“He’s gone the right way about it. His signings have been really good, I think that was important.
“He’s got a grip of the club, which was really really big for him. I think for Erik, he’s got Steve McClaren, Steve was here with us for a few years, so that experience helps, I think Steve will play a big part in that,” the Scotsman was quoted as saying.
Sir Alex credits McClaren
Aside from helping the manager gain control, McClaren, prior to taking up the role at United, had spoken of the need for players such as Marcus Rashford to improve.
And the Mancunian certainly has and McClaren has played an obvious part. It is refreshing to see him take active part during United’s training sessions and was seen playing as a make-shift defender during United’s pre-match drills at Wembley.
Ten Hag had worked under McClaren at AZ Alkmaar 15 years ago and now the roles have reversed but the English coach has been effusive in his praise for the current United boss.
Sir Alex knows what sort of character the former Middlesbrough manager is and Ten Hag is clearly benefitting from his vast experience. No wonder, he had sought out McClaren when he was offered the United gig.
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