Tom Heaton credits Erik ten Hag for bringing about a change in mentality at Manchester United
Tom Heaton has praised new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag for the changes he’s brought to the side. The 36-year-old is impressed with how the Dutch manager functions.
Ten Hag is known for playing a more attacking and possession-based style of football. His Ajax Amsterdam team were successful for many seasons playing under the Dutchman.
Speaking via Manchester Evening News, Heaton feels Ten Hag’s ideas have given the team a better outlook. The 36-year-old has enjoyed his time so far in preseason.
“I think it’s just a shift in mentality. The ideas that he’s got, it gives you plenty of options. We work on it all week and I think it’s more a shift in mentality than additional capabilities.
“The way he plays, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been interesting seeing his way of doing it. The solutions he comes up with have been absolutely brilliant. I think it works really well.
“Throughout pre-season, you’ve seen us control more games, which has allowed for a little bit more time and space for the front players because we all know how dangerous they are. So far it’s been a real good mix and I’ve enjoyed that.
The Red Devils beat Liverpool resoundingly in the first friendly of our Asia tour. United looked sharp and fans have noticed the changes in our style of play. The team have shown a different style throughout the pre-season.
United have impressed in preseason under Ten Hag
United have pressed higher up the pitch in the games under Ten Hag. We’ve looked to keep a hold of the ball and have created plenty of chances. The Red Devils have shown more energy and determination than in the previous campaign.
As a goalkeeper, Heaton has noticed his game change a bit. Instead of looking for options higher up the pitch, the players are encouraged to look for shorter options.
“Whether it’s looking longer or shorter, there are more solutions to play. We’re not averse to playing longer but we’re certainly looking more for the shorter options to get some more control. That’s pretty much it.
“It’s nothing massively different other than that. He’s done it in a good way in training so we can move it into the game and it’s been brilliant from the players’ point of view.”
United have impressed fans during pre-season and instilled some hope back after the previous campaign’s debacle. The side looked disjointed and out of ideas under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Ten Hag has brought in a new plan with a fixed intention. United have looked more solid and connected under the new boss as a team. But work still needs to be done, as was evident by a couple of the friendlies.
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There’s optimism going into next season. We have a manager in the dugout who’s considered one of the best in world football. However, what United can achieve under Ten Hag in the coming years remains to be seen.