Erik ten Hag.

Ten Hag's first priority at United

Wednesday 18 May 2022 11:44

Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag's first priority must be to engender the right team spirit, according to former Red Quinton Fortune.

The South African, speaking to us ahead of Saturday's Legends of the North game against Liverpool at Old Trafford, believes simple steps can be taken to ensure the players play with a smile on their face.

As a disappointing campaign comes to a close this weekend at Crystal Palace, Fortune is excited by the changes that Ten Hag will make 

Crossbar challenge: Fortune's hat-trick Video

Crossbar challenge: Fortune's hat-trick

🇿🇦💯 Quinton Fortune is ready for Saturday's Legends of the North match, judging by his crossbar challenge...

"First of all, it's good to sign Erik ten Hag up because we have the manager now for the next three years, three-and-a-half years, and what he first needs to do is create a good team spirit.

"I was very fortunate to listen to the boss [Sir Alex Ferguson] at Carrington a few weeks ago and he mentioned a simple thing like the team spirit we had, when we ate together at the canteen. It's something very simple, that a lot of people miss out, but that created that bond - not just in the players but everyone in the staff at Carrington.

"It played an important part of a successful club to create the team spirit because we have amazing individuals, as you can see, but we're not always playing as a team. We want players to want to come to Carrington and put on a red jersey. We know the talent is there.

"The style of football, which I'm sure he'll implement, needs time and to bring in the right characters but create a team that is going to play for each other, play for the club and enjoy it. We need players to go out there with a smile on their face and, when you do that, everything else follows."

Fortune, always a very bubbly and positive influence, also touched upon his footballing ideals as he continues to work on a career in coaching.

The 44-year-old has had stints with United, Cardiff City and, most recently Reading, and is keen to pass on his knowledge.

"I never thought about a philosophy but my way of life, or whatever, the way I am is just to help people if I can," he added. "So if I can help players to improve, first of all, that is one of the first things I want to do.

"And then obviously, to use the things I've learned from Sir Alex and many other managers over the years in my career. Just the same, to create a team that plays for each other, with a good environment and then selflessness. Courage and being relentless in terms of you forget about one's self and think about the team first.

"Play with courage and play with enjoyment. That is what we were told before games by Sir Alex - go and enjoy it. Really? Sixty to seventy thousand people and go and enjoy it? But that is what we did and every day in training was very hard. It was a competitive environment but an enjoyable environment.

"We had a great team spirit that won us trophies. When you go out into every single game, you knew your team-mates have got your back. It's very important to have that.

"There are many things I want to do as a coach but the most important part is creating a good team spirit so people can just enjoy their football."

Watch Quinton and other former Reds play Liverpool in the Legends of the North game, this Saturday at Old Trafford. Tickets are still available.