Bruno Fernandes reveals the strict rules Erik ten Hag imposed on Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to stop them becoming 'owners' of Man Utd
- Fernandes describes Ten Hag's strict style
- Rashford, Ronaldo & Sancho all pulled up
- Supports manager's rules
WHAT HAPPENED? After taking charge in the summer, Ten Hag set about restructuring the United's off-field approach and laid down his own laws. He reportedly ruled that the players must follow a strict dress code when representing the club, ensure they eat at a certain time at Carrington as well as follow a ban on mobile phone usage while on away trips. Ten Hag has also quickly snuffed out any ill discipline, most notably in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese was punished for storming out of a clash with Tottenham before full-time and ended up leaving the club by mutual consent in November. Jadon Sancho was also exiled after failing to meet Ten Hag's standards, with Fernandes admitting that his hard stance initially came as a shock to the squad.
WHAT THEY SAID: The United midfielder said in an appearance on Rio Ferdinand's Between the Lines YouTube show for BT Sport: "He [Ten Hag] first arrived and we went on tour and the training sessions we had, he demands: you do it or you’re out. You don’t play. Everyone was a little bit like in the beginning: 'Will he do that or not? If a big player doesn’t do what he wants will he pull him apart or not?'
"And he did that many times, he did it with Cristiano, with Jadon, with Marcus."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Even the usually evergreen Rashford was dropped from the starting XI for the trip to Wolves on New Year's Eve for being late to a team meeting. The England international reacted by scoring the winning goal after coming off the bench, and has since been in electrifying form for United, with Fernandes crediting Ten Hag for ensuring that player power is no longer an issue at Old Trafford. "Marcus was probably in the best form against Wolves, he did something wrong and the manager pulled him out. In the first moment we thought 'he’s our main man, we need him' but in the second I was sitting with David (De Gea) and I said 'it has to be like this' because if not that the younger ones will think 'if he does nothing to them he’ll do nothing to me too'.
"He demanded from Rashy you have to be consistent in everything, not only in your games, in your goals, and your performance but off the pitch also. Marcus, in the beginning, was hungry because he wanted to play but he didn’t do anything wrong, he accepted, came on, scored, we win and at the end, him and the coach are laughing. Sometimes you have to make some rules in your house. Otherwise, they will go over you and they will be the owners of the house."
IN THREE PHOTOS:
DID YOU KNOW? Rashford has rediscovered his best form under Ten Hag and is United's leading goal scorer this season with 24 strikes to his name.
WHAT NEXT FOR MANCHESTER UNITED? The Red Devils will be in action against Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League play-off tie on Thursday at Old Trafford, with the scores locked at 2-2 after the first leg at Camp Nou.
BT Sport is the exclusive home of the UEFA Europa League. Watch Manchester United v Barcelona live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm. For more info, visit btsport.com