In a bid to rejuvenate Manchester United's sluggish commencement to the 2023-24 Premier League season, head coach Erik ten Hag has adopted a stringent approach reminiscent of a school principal. Currently positioned at 11th in the league table, the team's performance has been a mixed bag with two narrow victories counterbalanced by two losses.
The season began on a positive note with a 1-0 triumph against Wolves. However, this was followed by a 2-0 setback against Tottenham. The Red Devils managed to regain some momentum with a 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest, but this was short-lived as they faced a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal just before the international hiatus.
As Manchester United prepares to face Brighton in their upcoming Premier League match, Ten Hag is leaving no stone unturned to rekindle the team's spirit. This includes extended supervision of players during the day. Key players like Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Casemiro have been advised to stay at the club's Carrington training base until post-lunch. In addition, Ten Hag has emphasized the importance of utilizing the club's newly renovated canteen, discouraging players from dining out at upscale restaurants.
In a move to optimize player performance, Ten Hag has introduced blood glucose monitors and sweat patches on match days. These tools are designed to track individual nutritional and hydration needs, ensuring players are at their peak during the full 90 minutes of play.
Ten Hag's emphasis on discipline is evident in his handling of internal team matters. Last season, young forward Alejandro Garnacho was sidelined from the senior team due to concerns regarding his attitude. When questioned about Garnacho's potential inclusion in the main squad, Ten Hag had remarked that it would hinge on the player's continued commitment and attitude.
Furthermore, Jadon Sancho's recent public disagreement with Ten Hag has led to disciplinary actions. Reports suggest that Sancho, having declined to apologize to Ten Hag for the altercation, has been temporarily removed from the first team. He is now training separately, utilizing the same facilities as the club's academy players. His return to the main squad is contingent upon resolving this issue.
Ten Hag's rigorous methods underscore his commitment to instilling a sense of discipline and unity within the team. As Manchester United navigates the challenges of the current season, it remains to be seen if these measures will translate into consistent on-field success.