Erik ten Hag punishes Man United players after Anfield drubbing
Ten Hag shows his players video of their 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool, according to reports in the UK.
As Manchester United’s players made their way to Carrington for training on 9am on Monday, manager Erik ten Hag was there two hours earlier.
Still smarting from the embarrassing 7-0 defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, the Dutch manager had prepared a number of exercises to provoke a reaction for what was for so many of his squad, the lowest point of their careers.
As the players tried to avoid the prying cameras of the waiting paparazzi on the approach to the training ground, an uncomfortable array of home truths awaited them.
According to reports in British media, Ten Hag has attempted to make his squad “angry” by requesting them to watch back the critical moments of a second half capitulation that gave Liverpool their biggest win over United.
While Ten Hag stopped short of showing them the entire game, selected clips of the video nasty are believed to have cut deep.
Red Devils players were also asked to sit in silence in the Carrington first team dressingrooms as they were replayed audio clips of the Anfield crowd’s reaction to the horror show.
Dutch sports psychologist Rainier Koers,brought to the club by Ten Hag, is also on hand for sessions as the squad attempts to recover in time for Thursday’s Europa League last-16 first leg showdown with Spanish club Real Betis at Old Trafford.
The players who have delivered so much for Ten Hag and United fans in recent months will be smarting from Sunday’s setback, as alluded to by defender Luke Shaw after the game.
Ten Hag wants to make sure they get back on track at the earliest opportunity and is seeking a reaction on Thursday evening.
Similar to the 4-0 defeat at Brentford earlier in the season, Ten Hag is seeking a winning comeback and the words from Shaw – that United players had taken their foot off the gas since winning the Carabao Cup last Sunday week – will have wounded him also.
Mindful of a gruelling 10-day schedule that produced a Europa League victory over Barcelona, that Carabao Cup win and progressing to the FA Cup quarter-finals with victory over West Ham, it is believed Ten Hag is not being too harsh on his squad this week.
However, in his efforts to keep standards high, little doses of Anfield medicine this week will serve as a reminder of where the squad has come from the same point last year, when the wheels came off under caretaker head coach Ralf Rangnick.
Shell-shocked United backroom staff are believed to have witnessed a fuming Ten Hag on Sunday evening, but a more calm, focused boss the following morning as the hard work begins to finish the season on a high.
The searing words of former United captains Roy Keane and Gary Neville after the game would also have been unavoidable for United’s players.
Ten Hag, knowing he still has work to do on building his squad, will aim to revitalise the current crop of players to raise the standards reached pre-Anfield.
The former Ajax supremo will get his answer on Thursday night.
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