Erik ten Hag has opened up on the gruelling punishment he put the Manchester United squad through following their chastening 4-0 defeat at Brentford back in August.

The Dutchman has steadied the ship at United by guiding the club back into the Champions League, but he made the worst possible start to his Old Trafford premiership with back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Brentford. After losing against the Seagulls on the opening day of the Premier League season, United were then thumped by the Bees - a result that saw United's opponents outrun them by a staggering 8.5 miles.

In the days that followed the Brentford game, reports outlined how Ten Hag hauled his players in on their day off to complete an 8.5 mile run in the heat to atone for their calamitous performance in west London.

And with the season now at an end, Ten Hag explained the method behind that decision in a recent interview with The Times. He said: “I am responsible [for results]. So I hate managers [who] when they’re winning, they’re telling [us], ‘I won the game’ and when they’re losing they’re saying ‘the players lost the game’. No! We win together, we lose together. When you have pride, you can’t act like we did in Brentford. I can accept you lose a game, especially in the start.

“Players have to get used to the way of play, new manager, new coaching staff. So defeat can come, but not in this way. You saw players who just gave in. We’re paid to deliver a performance and you can’t deliver this. We get paid very good and then you expect even more. It was totally unacceptable how we played, how we presented ourselves.”

Since arriving at Old Trafford, Ten Hag has laid down the law to his players on more than one occasion. He dropped Marcus Rashford after the United academy graduate arrived late for a team meeting back in December and a set of strict rules that were implemented at the club's Carrington training base went viral shortly after his appointment had been confirmed.

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Some of those rules, which included strict guidelines on drinking and eating, were slammed by Gabby Agbonlahor last summer, with the former Aston Villa man telling talkSPORT that Ten Hag was "overdoing it".

Speaking back in July, Agbonlahor said: “The rules Ten Hag is giving are normal rules. Players will always get weighed once or twice a week and it's normal to keep tabs on what you eat. With the drinking, the players don't do it anyway. So when he's come in and given out these rules, the players are probably thinking, 'we do this anyway, it's nothing new to us'.

“I feel like that's overkill, [the ban on] personal chefs, they're going to cook them healthy food. Maybe just tell them these are the sort of foods you've got to eat.”

He added: “I think he's overdoing it a bit now because players are going to have personal chefs. They can cook healthy food and they know what foods to feed players, so why would they need to take food from the training ground?”

2023-05-30T09:54:03Z dg43tfdfdgfd