Reports have claimed that new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has ordered that the squad returns to pre-season two weeks early, after he was left ‘unimpressed’ by the fitness levels of the players in recent fixtures.
The current Ajax manager is closing in on the Eredivisie title, meanwhile United are heading for their worst points total in Premier League history.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has previously questioned the players’ fitness beforehand, and it seems that it will be an issue that the new Dutch manager will look to iron out throughout a prolonged pre-season.
David McDonnell of The Mirror has reported that Ten Hag believes that the team that is currently sixth in the Premier League will need two extra weeks of rigorous fitness work at Carrington in order to be in condition to play the football that he demands of his teams.
Originally scheduled to return to training on July 4th — just eight days before their opening pre-season friendly against Liverpool — Ten Hag now wants his players to report back on the week beginning on June 20th.
The 52-year-old has watched recent games of the Red Devils remotely as he finishes off his season with the current Dutch champions. He is said to have been unimpressed with the fitness levels of the squad and is of the belief that many of United’s poor performances this campaign are down to poor fitness and a lack of conditioning.
The incoming manager has a great style of football on the eye, but also prioritises his out-of-possession pressing system. This will likely be a vital part of his team at Old Trafford once it is moulded to his style.
United have four pre-season games planned for the summer, with games against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa on the agenda across the summer in preparation for Ten Hag’s first season at the helm.