Bruno Fernandes hails Erik ten Hag for showing his authority at Man United

Bruno Fernandes has praised manager Erik Ten Hag for laying down the law to his Manchester United players since he arrived at Old Trafford last summer.

Ten Hag took over at United in July following a dismal campaign for the Red Devils that saw them finish sixth in the Premier League, 13 points outside the top four.

Fernandes has admitted that he and his team-mates were initially unsure as to how strict the ex-Ajax boss would be on the players, but it soon became clear that he would demand exemplary behaviour on and off the pitch to turn the team’s fortunes around.

‘He 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,’ Fernandes said on Rio Ferdinand’s Between The Lines.

‘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.’

Ten Hag has already dealt with a number of high-profile issues in his first six months at Old Trafford.

He regularly left Cristiano Ronaldo out of his starting XI in the opening weeks of the season, omitted him from his squad after the Portuguese star reacted angrily to being asked to come on as a substitute late on against Tottenham, and then gave the club the green light to terminate Ronaldo’s contract after his tell-all interview with Piers Morgan.

Meanwhile, he also kept Jadon Sancho away from the first-team amid concerns over his physical and mental wellbeing, but still handled the situation with sensitivity and has successfully reintegrated the winger into his squad in recent weeks.

But it was how Ten Hag dealt with Marcus Rashford in late December that really impressed Fernandes.

After returning from the World Cup, Rashford had scored in consecutive games against Burnley and Nottingham Forest and was flying, but he overslept and missed a team meeting ahead of United’s New Year’s Eve trip to Wolves.

Fernandes believes it would have been easy for Ten Hag to overlook Rashford’s error but the Dutchman decided to drop the England international from his starting line-up.

Fernandes has claimed that Rashford understood Ten Hag’s stance, though, due to his consistency when dealing with his players when they stepped out of line.

‘Marcus was probably in the best form against Wolves, he did something wrong and the manager pulled him out,’ Fernandes explained.

‘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 he 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.’

Ten Hag’s approach is paying off so far, with United still involved in four competitions, and just five points behind leaders Arsenal in the Premier League.

They have the chance to end their six-year trophy drought when they play Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, but they first face Barcelona for a place in the last-16 of the Europa League tonight.

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