Erik ten Hag’s tireless drive to changing Manchester United’s style of play has continued following some promising outcomes during the club’s pre-season.
Erik ten Hag has had a fantastic start to preseason, but he expects much more from his Manchester United players.
The Dutchman has wasted little time in getting his message through as he attempts to integrate his mindset into the Red Devils. Massive adjustments are required, but early indications from the club’s pre-season trip are encouraging. Nonetheless, Ten Hag has identified more areas for his squad to improve on.
According to Sky Sports, the former Ajax coach has prioritized conditioning and ball work in recent sessions. If the United players are to carry out their manager’s instructions on the field, they must be in peak physical condition. Unlike the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era, the team will be more focused on possession rather than counter-attacking.
United’s players are being drilled in preparation for their season opener against Brighton and Hove Albion, a team that defeated them 4-0 in May. Ten Hag has been tough so far, frequently yelling commands at his players and pointing out areas where they can improve.
His two assistants, Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag, have followed in his footsteps, with promising results so far. They defeated domestic rivals Liverpool in their first pre-season match, then defeated Melbourne Victory, scoring eight goals and conceding just one.
Ten Hag has been quick to downplay their preseason achievements, arguing that they are only a springboard. Following Liverpool’s victory, he stated: “We’re happy today because I believe we had a terrific team spirit. We know we’re just getting started, and when things start clicking, like the press… we know we made some pressing mistakes and conceded some chances, but we also generated a lot, and I think our squad played boldly, they were proactive, and we had to fight extremely hard to get out of some mistakes. We are, of course, pleased with the first game.”
The Red Devils were forced to come from behind against Melbourne, but Ten Hag was pleased with the reaction: “When we went down in the first minute, the team responded quite well, and especially on the right side, we produced a slew of excellent chances before halftime. We were then rewarded with the turnaround.”
The Dutchman will also be joined soon by Argentine centre-half Lisandro Martinez, with whom he previously worked at Ajax. United have been looking for a new central defender all summer and appear to have finally found one after several setbacks.