Ten Hag sends tough-love warning to Man Utd stars as Rashford sets example

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Erik ten Hag has taken a hard line policy with managing his Manchester United squad (Image: Getty Images)
Erik ten Hag has taken a hard line policy with managing his Manchester United squad (Image: Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag reckons Manchester United are reaping the benefits of his tough love.

While Cristiano Ronaldo has been booted out of Old Trafford for failing to knuckle down to Ten Hag’s demands for total discipline, the re-emergence of Marcus Rashford has been a triumph for the Dutchman.

Rashford was dropped to the bench at Wolves for turning up late for a team meeting, but responded by scoring the winner at Molineux - and has hit the back of the net in five successive games to sit top of the club’s goal-charts.

Ten Hag insists it was a gamble he had to take. He said: “Maybe it was a risk, but if you want to develop something, if you want to create a winning attitude and winning culture, you have to go this way, in my opinion.

“Everyone will do it their own way, but if you allow them to be ill disciplined, if you don’t match the standards, values and rules we set together as a team and as staff, if you don’t have that togetherness in the dressing room, then it will come back and it will blow up in your face.

Marcel Sabitzer completes Man Utd transfer after last-minute deadline day dash eidehiqdqikinvMarcel Sabitzer completes Man Utd transfer after last-minute deadline day dash

“On the pitch, that will happen if you do not have the discipline needed to win games. It’s about big responsibility, so you have to go that way. If it’s the right person and the right human being and the right character, they will react well. Related to Marcus, I was quite convinced about it because I have known him for seven or eight months and could expect that reaction.”

Rashford has scored 13 times for United this season and Ten Hag admitted that he is desperate to bring in another striker to ease the burden. A move for Dutch forward Cody Gakpo was hijacked by Liverpool, so United have turned their attentions to bringing in Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid in the hope that the Spanish club will lower their £13 million demand.

Do Manchester United need to sign a forward this month? Have your say in the comments!

Ten Hag sends tough-love warning to Man Utd stars as Rashford sets exampleMarcus Rashford has been in sensational form for Manchester United (Getty Images)

But Ten Hag still believes that Anthony Martial can offer a solution in front of goal after putting his faith in the Frenchman. He said: “The reason we are looking for another striker is not because we can’t rely on him (Martial), [but] because the physical load at this moment is so high that he can’t play for 90 minutes every three days.

“I have to manage that, so we are really on a thin line at this moment. The profile and the quality of Martial is so important for our game. His movement and ball security means such a lot for this team, and the pressing as well. Don’t forget that. Marcus gets the benefit of that.

“I am not concerned about only Marcus scoring because I am convinced others, like Martial, Antony and Bruno Fernandes are very capable, and we know Christian Eriksen will create and score.”

Simon Mullock

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