Exclusive : “United have had wake up call under Ten Hag” – Gordon Hill


Manchester United’s win over Leicester continued the recent optimism around the club with more and more people starting to feel convinced with Erik Ten Hag’s start as manager, in spite of those notable results in his first two games.

The reaction to what happened when we lost at Brentford was something I found very familiar indeed.

In the mid-80s I had a short spell at FC Twente under Fritz Korbach. I remember after one loss, Fritz had us in the next day and made us run twenty four laps around the track by the training pitch. Erik was a young lad at the club at the time and so when I heard he’d done the same to the United players, I wasn’t surprised.

His tough-talking manner to set and establish boundaries and expectations is something that is typically the Dutch way and you can see after just a couple of games there is an increased urgency and desire.

The squad has had a wake-up call and the new players have seemed to drive that message home. No longer can players sit on their hands and know and feel they’re undroppable.

Antony is a big statement signing – a winger who can cross and score. He comes with a big price tag, but from everything he’s said he’s just a kid desperate to play. I certainly wish him the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.

Lisandro Martinez is like a little bull, one not to take prisoners or no for answer. He’s unafraid of the stage, he gets stuck in and he gives it his all.

Eriksen and Casemiro bring a wealth of experience and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Brazilian settles in and if he can control games from midfield.

Malacia seems to have been a big surprise for everyone and I didn’t know much about him before he came to the club but he has already shown that Luke Shaw is going to have to fight hard to get his place back.

Ten Hag has been backed with the players he wanted and the big challenge, as well as winning and playing well, is keeping that big squad happy. The club definitely needed a freshening up and the new faces have done that – but it’s now about establishing a strong chemistry with the existing players.

The manager is going to need luck, and I certainly hope he gets it – but the last couple of weeks have definitely been a welcome return to something reassuringly familiar for United fans.

Gordon Hill

Former Manchester United winger (1975-1978). 134 appearances, 51 goals. FA Cup winner 1977.

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