Erik ten Hag joined Man United players in humiliation punishment ahead of Liverpool win – Invimeo
Premier League

Erik ten Hag joined Man United players in humiliation punishment ahead of Liverpool win

Erik ten Hag proved to his Manchester United players that they aren’t the only ones expected to do the hard yards – by joining them on the infamous punishment run that followed their humiliation at Brentford.

Ten Hag infuriated his squad by cancelling their day off and ordering them to report for duty at the club’s Carrington training base just 24 hours after the chastening 4-0 defeat.

After being told that his players had run 13.8km less than their Brentford counterparts, the angry Dutchman instructed them all to run that distance in scorching 33-degree temperatures.

But he then showed international stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes that he was also prepared to shoulder some of the blame for the Gtech Community Stadium calamity by matching them step for step over the full 8.5-mile distance.

Ten Hag was said to have been left physically shattered by the experience – but his pain made a deep impression on his players.

United responded by beating arch-rivals Liverpool 2-1 at a febrile Old Trafford on Monday night. And they ran a combined distance of 109.4km over the 90 minutes – almost 14km more than they had managed nine days earlier.

A Carrington source said: “The players were raging when they discovered their punishment for the no-show at Brentford would be an 8.5-mile run. But the moans ceased when it became clear that the manager was planning to do the same as them.

“He didn’t have to tell anyone why. It was clear that he wasn’t going to let his players take all the blame for the performance. Ten Hag also felt he had to show that he also felt culpable. It was a tough run for the players – but it was even more gruelling for Erik – and they were impressed.

“It may have taken a hugely physical effort, but ironically it showed that the manager understands the psychology of the modern player. You could see in the build-up to the Liverpool game that he had convinced them about the intensity and commitment he expects.”

Ten Hag showed his ruthlessness again by axing Ronaldo, skipper Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw from the team to face Liverpool.

Goals in each half from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford justified his decision. And afterwards, it was telling that the Dutchman was full of praise for the attitude his team had shown.

Ten Hag said: “We can talk about tactics, but it’s all about attitude. There was communication, fight, spirit – and then you can see what they can achieve. Of course we are happy. I know the rivalry against Liverpool – but don’t just bring it against Liverpool. Bring this organisation and intensity in every game.”

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