Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has likened new manager Erik ten Hag to Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp because of the way he has brought a particular philosophy as well as discipline to Old Trafford.
Ten Hag was installed as permanent manager in May in order to give him maximum time to put his stamp on the club. But things started disastrously for the Dutchman when he became the first United manager in 101 years to lose both of his first two games in charge.
Results have turned around since then, however, with United now on a run of four consecutive Premier League wins to surge up the table.
Clear within the improved performances has been a new identity in the team, similar to what Guardiola and Klopp have installed at Manchester City and Liverpool respectively. In contrast, United had been severely lacking that under former bosses.
“First of all, he has an idea. He has a style. You have to follow his rules. He is strict on that. And I like that. He has brought discipline, which is something I think we missed in the past. Everyone must be on the same page,” Fernandes told The Athletic.
“That is what Pep and Klopp have been doing for years, because they have stability in the club and in the way they choose the transfer market and build the team, which is really important for them to get the rewards,” he added.
Ten Hag previously worked at Bayern Munich for a year under Guardiola, heading up the club’s reserve team, so for their philosophies to be similar is logical.
United were criticised in the summer for making relatively few new signings overall (5) when former interim boss Ralf Rangnick had said last season that the squad needed ‘open heart surgery’ and around 10 new players in order to be competitive. Fernandes went on to back Ten Hag’s mantra of quality over quantity as more important at this stage of the project.
“I saw the manager say in a press conference that we do not want to bring players just for the sake of it, we want to bring the right players for what we want to do. It is something the club needs,” Fernandes continued.
“We still have a margin to improve and he needs time to get the most out of us with his idea of playing. I believe we will get to the point with him where we are established as a team and everyone is on the same page.”