Erik ten Hag stamps authority at Man Utd by forcing squad to follow strict phone rule

Behind the scenes as Man Utd train for Liverpool friendly

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is taking plenty of firm steps to unite his squad in advance of the new Premier League campaign. The Dutchman is looking to make his mark on a dressing room that was fractured at times last season as the Red Devils limped to a disappointing sixth-placed finish after a disastrous collective showing both domestically and in Europe.

Ten Hag will be looking to get off to a winning start as United’s new manager against bitter rivals Liverpool, who they will face in a pre-season friendly in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon. His players have already been subjected to his no-nonsense coaching methods while in Thailand, with the set of rules in place even covering the extent of acceptable mobile phone usage, according to The Telegraph.

It is claimed that Ten Hag has banned his squad from using their phones at the dinner table in a bid to encourage team-mates to speak together and mix freely. His attention to detail is even said to extend to the colour of outfits his fellow staff should wear, with United’s female employees being asked to wear white and their male counterparts under instruction to sport black clothes.

The 52-year-old has already implemented a number of rules and regulations since arriving from Ajax at the end of last season, including the prohibition of personal chefs and a ban on players drinking alcohol in the days leading up to a game. Their BMIs will also be checked monthly in an attempt to stay on top of their collective physical condition, while those who arrive late to training sessions and meetings will run the risk of being dropped.

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It remains to be seen whether Ten Hag’s strict measures will have the desired effect at United, who will be desperate to improve their on-pitch fortunes over the course of the upcoming Premier League campaign. Their new manager appears to be clamping down on the established culture at the club, which has come under scrutiny in recent months due to a number of dressing room leaks and unsavoury stories having made their way out of Carrington and into the wider media.

Not everybody seems to be on board with Ten Hag’s desire to rule with an iron fist, though, with former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol having already claimed that his uncompromising approach will simply cause more problems for a club in desperate need of repair.

“These things don’t work,” Nicol recently told ESPN. “If you are late, you’re dropped, what are you going to do if there are five of them sharing a car?

“You are giving yourself problems for no apparent reason. The Liverpool boys used to do it [share a car]. You can’t drink on gameday, you can’t drink at all until the season is over, because you are playing every seven days at the very worst.

“So you can’t drink, again, asking for trouble. You are setting yourself up for failure, it is just stupid.”

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