Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Repeat: Off The Ball


Erik Ten Hag has shown promising signs to Manchester United fans | Andy Mitten

It might be early in his tenure as Manchester United manager, but Andy Mitten has been encouraged by what he's seen from Erik Ten Hag so far.

It might be early in his tenure as Manchester United manager, but Andy Mitten has been encouraged by what he's seen from Erik Ten Hag so far.

The United We Stand editor has looked closely at the Dutch manager's early interactions with media, as well as United's pre-season tour of Australia and Thailand.

Over the four pre-season matches, United have beaten Liverpool (4-0), Melbourne Victory (4-1) and Crystal Palace (3-1), as well as drawing with Aston Villa (2-2).

However it is not just the results that have given Mitten cause for optimism ahead of the new season.

Speaking on Tuesday's Off The Ball, Mitten discussed Ten Hag's first four matches as manager at Old Trafford.

"I was impressed with the football," Mitten said. "A 4-0 win against Liverpool, admittedly that could have been 4-4, and Liverpool played three different teams.

"It was still Manchester United four, Liverpool nil. United won in Melbourne against Crystal Palace, against Melbourne victory, and played very well in the first half in Perth on Saturday against Aston Villa.

"They played pretty poorly in the second half, but maybe that wasn't a bad thing. Ten Hag could rip into them as he did do. He wasn't going to do media after the game, but he did and was very critical of his players.

"So, he's not afraid of calling people out."

While some may see his style of management as somewhat controlling, Mitten has seen a sense that Ten Hag has been improving the club.

"During the game, he'd be really strong, saying 'what on earth are you doing? I told you not to do that! This isn't football'," Mitten said.

"In training, I was told that he constantly stops: 'I want you to do it this way'. To the point where he drives the players mad, but again, in a good way. The feel that they can improve under him."

Ten Hag has a good management team and style

However, it is not solely the impact that Ten Hag has had on the club that gives Mitten cause for hope.

"His assistant, Mitchell [van der Gaag], I hear good things about him," Mitten said. "He's been a manager himself, he's not best friends with Ten Hag, but he doesn't have to be. He's a good foil to him.

"Steve McClaren is back. He isn't to the same level as those two in terms of being a modern coach and being absolutely up to speed, but knows United and is just a good person to have around.

"They've picked the confidence up off the floor, which was needed. It could go back down there if United start the season poorly."

Ten Hag reportedly has a good balance of discipline and humour with his playing staff, that previous managers lacked.

"I'm told that he has a bit of a humour about him," Mitten said. "But he is discipline first. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was nice first, and discipline in private.

"One player turned up late twice for team meetings. He was expected to start in one of the matches, and he didn't start. That is the manager saying, 'you'll do things my way'.

"Not in an anal way that Louis van Gaal did where he'd go crazy if you were one minute late. He's more relaxed than that."

Football on Off The Ball brought to you by Sky. All the football you love in one place across Sky Sports, BT Sport & Premier Sports.

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

Read more about

Ajax Alex Ferguson Andy Mitten Barca Barcelona Carrington Champions League Chelsea Christian Eriksen Cristiano Ronaldo Erik Ten Hag Fergie Football Frenkie De Jong Harry Maguire Joe Molloy Jorge Mendes Man United Manchester United Martinez News Newstalk Off The Ball Old Trafford Otb Podcast Pre-season Pre-season Tour Premier League Radio Ronaldo Sir Alex Ferguson Soccer Sport Sports Sports News Ten Hag Todd Boehly