Erik ten Hag following Jose Mourinho tactic as three public Man Utd spats show

Jadon Sancho to train away from Man Utd squad until ‘discipline issue’ resolved

Erik ten Hag appears to be following a similar blueprint to Jose Mourinho in tackling disciplinary issues at Manchester United. The Dutchman has ruled with an iron fist since taking over at Old Trafford last year, making examples out of several players when they have fallen below expectations.

Ten Hag made the brave decision to axe Cristiano Ronaldo last year after the Portuguese icon burned his bridges at United in a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan. The Red Devils manager showed that he is unwilling to bow to player power regardless of who they are by terminating Ronaldo’s contract just days after the interview was aired.

He has also taken a firm stance on Jadon Sancho, who landed himself in hot water with a social media outburst after he was left out of United’s squad to face Arsenal. The winger is now being forced to train away from the main first-team group at Carrington, with the situation yet to be resolved behind closed doors.

Harry Maguire is another player to have felt the wrath of Ten Hag after falling out of favour with the 53-year-old over the last two seasons. All three situations have drawn parallels to the way Mourinho handled things at United, with the Portuguese boss having refused to accept anything less than the very best from his players.

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Mourinho’s legacy at United was shaped by his tendency to alienate players when he did not feel they were worthy of representing the Red Devils. A highly-publicised spat with Paul Pogba grabbed the headlines back in 2018, when the pair were spotted arguing on the training pitch before the Frenchman was stripped of vice-captain duties in a bold move from the manager

The former United boss also clashed with Luke Shaw, who never saw eye-to-eye with Mourinho during their time working together. He repeatedly singled out the defender for media criticism, insisting at one point that he ‘cannot continue to play with my brain’ after a game in which Shaw needed a lot of coaching.

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There are clear similarities between Ten Hag and Mourinho in terms of both managers taking disciplinary issues extremely seriously, although it remains to be seen whether the former will be able to succeed where the latter failed. Mourinho was sacked by United during the 2018/19 season after a poor run of results and Ten Hag will be desperate to avoid being subjected to the same fate any time soon.

He has consistently shown that he is in it for the long haul, though, and will be hoping to continue making steady progress at United over the course of this season. A win over Brighton on Saturday will go a long way to improving the mood at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils crying out for something to celebrate after a chaotic few weeks behind the scenes.

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