Marcus Rashford reflects on end of Man Utd's pre-season tour in Australia
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Erik ten Hag has wasted no time implementing a strict, detailed culture and high standards at Manchester United. And while early murmurs garner eerie comparisons to Louis van Gaal’s largely unsuccessful regime, he seems to be prospering where his Dutch predecessor ultimately failed.
According to the Mail, Ten Hag’s attention to detail became apparent as early as his first interview for the manager job at Old Trafford. As club figures met him in London, he awaited them with a heap of data and charts he had compiled from his own analysis on the table.
And his reputation has been enhanced during pre-season by requests regarding grass length, water bottles being set out in straight lines and players running a distance in a specific time by the second, no quicker or slower. Ten Hag has a say in every aspect of the club’s operations, aligned with his desire for each decision, even non-football ones, to be justified.
MUTV wanted to film some United players visiting the set of the popular Australian TV show ‘Neighbours’ for the club’s channel and social media platforms while the pre-season tour was in Melbourne earlier this month. However, that suggestion was ‘swiftly dismissed’, and cameras were forbidden.
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Ten Hag has brought a similar level of discipline to United to Van Gaal, who guided the club to their first major trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson by lifting the 2016 FA Cup. However, he endured strained relationships with players over his dated training methods and tendency to lecture them like ‘schoolchildren’.
It’s a different situation with Ten Hag. The report adds that he boasts a more ‘human side’ than Van Gaal and has encouraged his players to speak to him privately rather than rushing to their agents if they have an issue. United’s squad grew bored of Van Gaal’s tiresome video analysis and regular interruptions during training, but Ten Hag only stops his sessions if he has to.
Players have responded well to his high-intensity pre-season training regime, in which balls at feet are just as big a focus as fitness. That’s clear from several stars publicly expressing their happiness with life under Ten Hag and United’s performances throughout their tour. The Red Devils won three of their four fixtures, drawing the other after conceding a last-second equaliser against Aston Villa.
They put four goals past Liverpool and Melbourne Victory and three past Crystal Palace before the 2-2 tie with Villa. In and out of games, Ten Hag is currently impressing where Van Gaal failed to, but it’s just the start of what’s guaranteed to be a rocky rebuild.
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