Erik ten Hag arrived at Manchester United this summer with a set of new regulations for players, including penalties for being late and a ban on using mobile phones during mealtimes.
Bruno Fernandes has praised Erik ten Hag’s tough new approach and stated that Manchester United’s players needed to be disciplined.
Ten Hag has imposed a number of rigorous rules on United’s players, including strict timekeeping for training and meetings and no cell phones during mealtimes. United’s new manager feels that discipline off the field is just as crucial as it is on it if the squad is to be successful, something Fernandes admitted had slipped previous season.
“I think we lacked that for a time,” Fernandes admitted. “The way I view discipline is crucial to me. Discipline is more than just how you play on the field, your position, and what you have to do.
“It also applies off the field – don’t be late for meetings or meals.” That, I believe, is critical, because if everyone arrives on time and someone is late, he should be penalised. So I think that’s really kind of him, and it’s amazing for me because I prefer to be on time, so I won’t have any problems with that.”
Fernandes stated that United’s players have moved on from last season, when they finished sixth with the fewest points in Premier League history, and are focused on following ten Hag’s template for success.
“Last season, we forgot a long time ago,” Fernandes explained. “It is what it is, we know it was not our finest season, this club expects more from us, but it’s always about the next game.” In football, there is no past; everyone forgets what you did in the past so quickly, so we know the future is what we need to improve on.
“We have to improve, we have to train, we have to perform, so it’s looking ahead.” He wants to approach the game differently. He demands a lot, which I think is a good thing because it makes us focus more because we know that if we don’t do what he wants, we’re out of the squad and don’t play, which I think is a good thing.”
Ten Hag is establishing a proactive, possession-based approach centered on ball retention, as Fernandes is dissatisfied with the idea that he was one of United’s more wasteful players last season.
“When I arrived in 2020, I lost the same amount of balls in the first six months, and then I lost the same amount of balls the year after,” Fernandes explained. “However, I scored 28 goals, so no one complained.” People started moaning last season because I only scored 10 goals, which is a lot for some people, but I’m fine with it and don’t mind.
“I try my hardest, I know I always give my all, and I always strive to assist my teammates. They understand that even if I miss passes, I’m still trying to give them something, so I’m fine with that. Obviously, I’ll have to do whatever the coach asks of me, and whatever he asks of me, I’ll do because he feels it’s best for the team, and the best for the team is the best for me.”