Former Sir Alex Ferguson No. 2 Steve McClaren has returned to Manchester United for a second term as assistant manager and he has already sent a strong signal to the players responsible for the club’s worst Premier League performance and to the fans who endure watching.

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McLaren returned to Old Trafford as part of a coaching staff formed by new manager Erk ten Hag, who was appointed in May to replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick. Rangnick took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December 2021 and won just 11 of his 29 games in charge as his side finished sixth in the Premier League, much closer to the relegation zone (23 points) than they ended up with. champions Manchester City (35 points). The Red Devils were also eliminated from the third round of the League Cup, the fourth round of the FA Cup and the round of 16 of the Champions League.

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They have since turned to former Ajax manager Ten Hag in the hope that a new face with fresh ideas would help bring the club out of its doldrums and back on a winning path. The Dutchman will also benefit from the wisdom and experience of McLaren, who was United’s young manager when they won the 1998-99 treble.

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Returning to the club almost a quarter of a century later, the 61-year-old laid out exactly what he thought it would take to create a culture of success within a team, speaking of the latest episode “McLaren Performancepodcast hosted by his son Josh.

Dividing his approach into three key areas, the former England manager has detailed exactly what conditions he believes are necessary in order to start creating harmony within a group of players from which a winning mentality can flourish.

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1. Safe space

Encouraging players to be free to experiment and giving them the time and space to make, admit and discuss their mistakes without fear of reprimand.

“Many times [in the past] we sat in team meetings and had the right to attack the players, go and criticize everyone, and then the manager asked: “Well, what can I say?” Of course there is no answer. It’s not a safe environment for players to speak up.”

Of course, anyone who watched United at all in the 2021-2022 season knows that when it comes to mistakes that require honest discussion, there really is a shame in wealth. General protection standard With a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in April, there should be enough food for a frank and open exchange of ideas during the first week of pre-season.


2. Collective vulnerability

From young players to reservists on the outskirts and recognized leaders; each member of the squad must show humility and fragility in order to create a strong bond.

“Telling each other about vulnerability through stories of severe trauma, severe loss, how you were raised, the traumas in your life that you went through. Recognizing that you need help with certain things.”

FROM A woeful 4-0 defeat for United against Brighton & Hove Albion just a month ago and still fresh in my mind, this could be a good start.


3. General purpose

The more individual players feel confident enough to share their personal ambitions, the stronger the command unit becomes as everyone starts moving in the same direction.

“Everyone should have a goal. Search “why?” especially important. This is the beginning of everything. “Why are you playing [Manchester United]? What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve this? What is your heritage? What do you want to leave here?”

It’s hard to imagine any United player leaving an unforgettable legacy in recent years. Indeed, it is hard to imagine any bronze statues outside the stadium waiting for any of the players who managed to lose 15-1 on aggregate in four games against rivals Liverpool and Manchester City last season. Perhaps the Reds will build a monument outside of Anfield. 5-0 win at Old Trafford in Octoberalthough.


Really wise words.

While United fans are no doubt hopeful that there will also be major changes in the transfer market on the horizon this summer, they can take heart in the knowledge that a cultural shift at the club could happen if McLaren’s manifesto is heard.