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Former striker Louis Saha has been impressed by what he has seen and heard so far in the early days of the Erik ten Hag era at Man Utd.
The Red Devils are hoping Ten Hag can turn the ship around after a miserable 2021/22 campaign which saw them finish sixth, 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and 35 points adrift of champions and neighbours Man City.
That saw them miss out on Champions League football, which has already caused issues, with reports Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave and Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong is having mixed feelings about joining.
And now Ten Hag’s aim will be to get them back in the top four of the Premier League next season with their pre-season going well so far with three wins and a draw.
There were rumours of a ‘toxic’ atmosphere in an unruly changing room last term and Ten Hag has put his foot down early, with reports claiming one unnamed player was dropped during their pre-season tour for turning up late for team meetings on two occasions.
“That’s completely fair – when the rules are in place you have to follow them,” Saha told The Metro.
“Especially at this moment in time where it’s so important to recalibrate the philosophy and attitude of the squad, so it has to be done as a military camp.
“So if it’s happened twice, it warrants the action so the other players can see this manager doesn’t mess around.
“You have to set expectations and when opportunities present themselves to set standards, it’s right the manager should use the tools at his disposal to lay down the law.
“They are ultimately workers, employees. As a manager you do everything to make sure they are in line. You wouldn’t accept anyone else turning up to work late in any other industry so it’s completely fair.”
Man Utd scored 13 goals in their four matches on their pre-season tour, which started with three wins over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, and ended with a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.
Saha added on Ten Hag: “I think right now he’s not made many mistakes. His communication, maybe some people will dislike it, but they’re not in his position and you can’t please everybody.
“The players seem to respond really well to his training, the toughness is back, there’s a new atmosphere that’s one of focus and to work hard.
“This is what we want to see as Man United fans. We want to see commitment, energy, passion and creativity.
“The project itself is a long term one, pre-season has gone well but it’s nothing. What we want to see is how these players react under the massive pressure of the Premier League.”
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