·15 September 2023
·15 September 2023
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted that the club's culture was "no good" when he first arrived, but this is an issue he's been keen to resolve.
Ten Hag was appointed as the Red Devils' new boss at the end of a turbulent 2021/22 season which saw them finish sixth with a Premier League-low tally of 58 points.
United had gone into that season expected to provide some sort of title challenge, particularly following the re-signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, but those hopes were quickly dashed and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked as manager in November 2021.
He was replaced on an interim basis by Ralf Rangnick, who failed to improve United's flailing results and continually called out the club's shortcomings in press conferences, even stressing they needed "open heart surgery".
Ten Hag brought discipline back to United during his first season in charge, notably dropping Ronaldo from his first-choice XI before his contract was mutually terminated, while star forward Marcus Rashford was similarly punished in the winter for arriving late for a team meeting.
But United have been rocked by various off-pitch issues to begin the 2023/24 campaign. After reportedly planning to reintegrate Mason Greenwood into the first team, the club then decided his future should lie away from the club and he was loaned out to Getafe on transfer deadline day.
Antony is currently on leave back in his native Brazil after being accused of assault by three women. Fellow winger Jadon Sancho is currently training away from the first team after clashing with Ten Hag on social media having been dropped for the matchday squad to face Arsenal on September 3.
At a press conference ahead of Saturday's match with Brighton & Hove Albion, Ten Hag was asked about the Sancho issue. He did not address the matter head on, but instead sought to clarify his stance on squad discipline as a whole.
"I think everything is said [about Sancho]. As I said, the squad is strong, good spirit, good mood going into the game," Ten Hag said.
"They [the players] are very good because you have sometimes setbacks in seasons, players are injured, other reasons, they are not available, therefore you construct a squad. The squad is very good and the players are motivated to give a good performance.
"Strict line is the point. The club asked me because there was a no-good culture before the end of last season to set some standards and that's what I did. It's my job to control the standards.
"Of course, it's never someone when they make one mistake, it's a whole process before you come to a certain outcome about strict lines. If staff, players or whoever, if there's a structure to cross lines, you have to be strong, absolutely."