Ten Hag's powerful bond with his players

Wednesday 03 May 2023 11:52

Erik ten Hag has high standards and sets them out clearly.

But the boss is a master at adapting his management to suit the needs of individual players, with the overarching aim of achieving the best result for Manchester United.

Across the campaign, big decisions, joyful dances and reality checks have all been demonstrated by Erik, with all having a positive effect on relations with his players.

These powerful bonds ensure that the Reds 'run through brick walls' for the Dutchman, with the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Scott McTominay among those most recently praised for their level of performance.

With one trophy acquired, and the FA Cup final against Manchester City to come on 3 June, it is clear that Erik's ability to strike up such connections with his players is proving fruitful.

Following his motivational speech to Alejandro Garnacho - which has gone viral - here are five examples of Reds who have been positively impacted by Ten Hag's personable management style...

Behind the scenes of Garnacho's big day Video

Behind the scenes of Garnacho's big day

A Day In The Life | Here's another chance to watch Garna's new-contract day, featuring an EPIC speech from Ten Hag...


Garnacho burst into United's senior team at the end of last season when making his debut against Chelsea. The 18-year-old, who memorably scored a brace during the 2022 FA Youth Cup final, has been carefully nurtured by Erik and was making a big impact prior to his injury in our 0-0 draw with Southampton in March.

The electric winger's assist for Marcus Rashford's winner against Manchester City, and superb finishes against Fulham, Leeds and West Ham spring to mind, but Erik is clear that there is a long way to go for the mercurial talent yet. In his motivational speech, which Ten Hag gave to Alejandro and his family, he outlined that the new contract should motivate him to kick on and establish himself as a United player.


After the Reds won the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle, jubilant celebrations followed, with a special moment between Antony, Martinez and Ten Hag being captured. The trio danced together, joy unconfined, with that boogie later confirmed by the boss as a continuation of celebrations they shared during their time at Ajax together.

"You have to celebrate," said Erik after the match to Sky Sports. "It is not business as usual, it is not a common day. We won a trophy and this trophy means something."


On 31 December, away to Wolves, Ten Hag named Rashford on the bench in spite of the forward being in superb goalscoring form. The boss said it was due to disciplinary reasons, later confirmed as Rashford arriving at a team meeting late.

Marcus was introduced at half-time and scored the winner at Molineux, before admitting in post-match interviews that he deserved to be benched. It was all smiles between Ten Hag and Rashford following the full-time whistle, of couse.

Their bond has grown stronger every week since, and Marcus's 29 goals across all competitions so far shows that it is having a positive impact on the pitch too.

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10 times Rashy was the matchwinner

Watch all 10 of Marcus Rashford’s decisive goals in this season’s Premier League…


When Jadon Sancho made his first appearance since October in our Carabao Cup match against Nottingham Forest on 8 February, the ovation he received was overwhelming.

One thing that stood out during this moment was Erik's actions as Jadon prepared to enter the fray. The manager was offering plenty of motivation to the winger, and ensuring he joined the action with maximum confidence.

Sancho came off the bench to score in the 2-0 win and has featured regular for the Reds since, notching six goals and assisting twice so far this season.

Welcome back, Jadon! Video

Welcome back, Jadon!

Old Trafford rose to its feet as Sancho returned to the side following three months out...


Luke Shaw has been one of the key beneficiaries of our side since Erik took charge last summer. A full-back by trade, Luke has deputised superbly at centre-back at different points this season, resulting in a nomination for April's Player-of-the-Month award.

When Shaw signed a new contract in April, Shaw said: "I think that's something that manager is putting on me at the moment, to bring more leadership into the team from the qualities that I have."

On the evidence of his recent performances, and his campaign to date, the defender is certainly living up to Erik's expectations.