Erik ten Hag has already laid down the law at Manchester United – having dropped a player as punishment for twice turning up late to team meetings.
The Dutchman was handed the reins at Old Trafford this summer and is attempting to reverse the fortunes at the club following a thoroughly miserable season under first Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then Ralf Rangnick last term.
The first stage of that has been introducing strict discipline within the squad ahead of his first season in charge and thus far, it appears that most have brought into the new rules. Having said that, not all have managed to get up to speed yet.
According to The Athletic, one unnamed player fell foul of the new rules in approach to punctuality during the Red Devils’ tour of Asia and Australia throughout pre-season. They were late to two team meetings – the consequence of which led to them being dropped for a game during the tour.
As per the report, Ten Hag had originally planned to use the player during the match but instead prioritized the rules, with tardiness perceived as standards beginning to slip within the squad.
This approach is, of course, not that different from the punishments laid down by United managers of the past – Ten Hag’s compatriot Louis van Gaal also handed out severe punishments for the lateness of just a matter of seconds. The former Ajax schemer is not as strict but there is still great importance given to scheduling.
It remains to be seen whether that new approach to discipline will bear fruit but the Red Devils have so far enjoyed a positive pre-season tour. They have racked up victories over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, and Crystal Palace.
The Red Devils came unstuck against Aston Villa on Saturday though. Steven Gerrard’s men came from 2-0 down to earn a draw, with Leon Bailey’s stoppage-time equalizer leaving United frustrated.
Ten Hag has claimed that lessons from that game will have to be learned by his squad ahead of their opening Premier League match of the season against Brighton in less than a fortnight.