Ten Hag refuses to back down after he's accused of "overdoing" punishment

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Ten Hag refuses to back down after he
Ten Hag refuses to back down after he's accused of "overdoing" punishment

Manchester United finally feel like a club on the up again with Erik ten Hag at the helm as we head into 2023.

Ten Hag has managed to guide United back into the upper echelons of the Premier League after overcoming a turbulent start to his Old Trafford tenure; Saturday's win at Wolves was even enough to propel them into the top four.

The Dutchman arrived in Manchester to a club who were in complete disarray. But just months after United limped to their worst ever finish in the Premier League era, Ten Hag's efficient, no-nonsense approach has revitalised one of football's most famous institutions - even if his methods have not been universally popular.

United's win over Wolves was, in some ways, overshadowed by Marcus Rashford. The 25-year-old, who has been in electric form this term and scored twice in the win over Nottingham Forest just four days earlier, was dropped to the bench for 'disciplinary' issues. Rashford confirmed after his match-winning contribution from the bench that his crime was showing up late for a team meeting after oversleeping.

Ten Hag had already punished an unnamed player for a similar misdemeanour during pre-season at a time where some of his hardline new rules were made public.

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But while others, including United's own players, have commended the former Ajax chief for bringing some discipline and order back to the club, others have accused Ten Hag of going too far.

Join the debate! What did you make of Ten Hag's decision to drop Rashford? Let us know here.

Ten Hag refuses to back down after he's accused of "overdoing" punishmentErik ten Hag was accused of "overdoing it" with his strict rules by Gabriel Agbonlahor back in the summer (Getty Images)

Gabriel Agbonlahor hit out at the rules, which included include guidelines on punctuality, food and conditioning tests, and accused Ten Hag of "overdoing it" in the summer. The former Aston Villa man told talkSPORT back in July: "The players don't [drink anymore]. They'll maybe now have a glass of red with dinner, maybe on the weekend or something like that.

"The rules Ten Hag is giving are normal rules. Players will always get weighed once or twice a week and it's normal to keep tabs on what you eat. With the drinking, the players don't do it anyway. So when he's come in and given out these rules, the players are probably thinking, 'we do this anyway, it's nothing new to us'.

"I feel like that's overkill, [the ban on] personal chefs, they're going to cook them healthy food. Maybe just tell them these are the sort of foods you've got to eat."

Ten Hag refuses to back down after he's accused of "overdoing" punishmentMarcus Rashford made amends with Ten Hag by netting United's winner against Wolves after starting the match on the bench (Getty Images)

He added: "I think he's overdoing it a bit now because players are going to have personal chefs. They can cook healthy food and they know what foods to feed players, so why would they need to take food from the training ground?"

Agbonlahor wasn't the only person to speak out, but Ten Hag has been rewarded for sticking to his guns: he has won 17 of his 24 games since arriving at Old Trafford.

After seeing off Cristiano Ronaldo and then subsequently dropping Rashford, who has been United's main man this term, Ten Hag made it clear that nobody will be given any wriggle room when it comes to discipline on his watch. No exceptions.

Dan Marsh

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