McClaren relishes chance to wipe the slate clean with Ten Hag

‘Last season is history… the players want discipline’: Steve McClaren admits he’s relishing the clean slate at Manchester United with Erik ten Hag this summer but warns their squad that ‘you have to win’

  • Steve McClaren made a return to the club as Erik ten Hag’s assistant manager
  • The former England boss praised the players for their application and hard work
  • McClaren has a sense that it is a good dressing room currently at the club

Steve McClaren has praised the current Manchester United squad saying they have given him a ‘great feeling’ ahead of the new campaign but offered a stark warning on the standards expected of them ahead of the new campaign. 

The former England boss was brought in by Erik ten Hag as one of his assistants having worked under the ex-Derby and Middlesbrough boss at FC Twente. 

McClaren was Sir Alex Ferguson’s deputy during the extremely successful spell for United between 1999 and 2001 in which time they won three league titles as well as the Champions League and one FA Cup. 

Steve McClaren has said he is relishing the season starting after being impressed in pre-season

Speaking to the club’s website, McClaren extolled the virtues of the current group stating that he has been impressed by them but said that at United it all came down to winning. 

He said: ‘Last season, seasons are gone. The history is gone. It’s past.’

‘It’s about the future and we’ve got an opportunity to create that in a certain style and Erik wants to see that happen,’ he added.   

‘The vibe that I’m getting from the players: they want it too. They want that discipline, they want to know what their jobs are. They want feedback on it. Because they want to win,’ he said. 

‘I’m afraid at Manchester United you have to win.’

The former FC Twente and Derby County boss made a return to the Old Trafford dugout after 21 years on the weekend

McClaren, who spent three years as Ferguson’s assistant including being by his side for the club’s most famous night in 1999 when they scored two last gasp goals to win the Champions League, said that the group had so far been great to work with and it made him optimistic ahead of the new campaign. 

‘The great thing that I’ve found is that these are great players to work with,’ said McClaren. 

‘They were a little quiet the first week: it [the training] was very demanding.

McClaren says the group have been fantastic and that he gets a great feeling ahead of the campaign beginning 

‘But as we got to know the players, as we got more and more into training sessions and they know the demands, the intensity, the competition, the winning and losing, the banter that goes along with it, you can feel the noise and the volume in training, in the dressing room, around the hotel and around Carrington, start to [build].

‘That’s what I like, that’s why I enjoy coaching, that’s why I enjoy coming back here because these are damn-good players. You can see that.’

He added: ‘This group have been fantastic. I get a great feeling,’ he continued. ‘I’ve been into many, many dressing rooms and many dressing rooms for the first two, three, four weeks you kind of know and can smell [it].

It is roles reversal after Ten Hag was previously McClaren’s assistant at FC Twente in Holland

‘I’ve got a good feeling about this dressing room.’

Last season a lot of the criticism of United – particularly that that came from the cadre of very vocal former players in the media – focused in on a culture amongst the playing group that befell the previous lofty standards that had for so long characterised the club. 

McClaren said the culture was now ‘clean’ and any bad embers of a bad culture had been extinguished. 

‘The demands are there and that’s what creates a great environment. I can see that spirit. It’s great coming from the outside; coming in, with no preconceptions about the culture and environment and it’s clean and it’s gone,’ he said. 

McClaren (C, L) alongside Sir Alex Ferguson (C) in the dugout at White Hart Lane

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