Inside Manchester United's Tactical Revolution – Why It's Not About the Players, But the Coach's Vision!

Erik Ten Hag wants a menacing Manchester United side in attacking transitions, but the Reds have been anything but that.

Inside Manchester United's Tactical Revolution – Why It's Not About the Players, But the Coach's Vision!

Izuchukwu Akawor 15:30 - 28.02.2024

Establishing a cohesive structure of play at Manchester United is essential for success in football, as demonstrated by examples such as Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

The statement that the players are not good enough at Manchester United is often made, but it misses the crucial point that the coach must first establish the structure of play that they want to see at the club. Only then can they sign players who fit that style.

The new coach needs to put their principles in place before players can be signed to fit it. This is exactly what was expected of Erik Ten Hag, the current boss at Old Trafford, but he stated that he did not come to play the same style of football that the club and fans were attracted to in the first place.

Manchester United's struggles

The Red Devils have struggled to control matches and in the last five matches have conceded a remarkable 100 shots against teams like Luton Town, Fulham, and Aston Villa in that run.

It is important to note that control is a style, and it is the coach who instils that style. Teams like Middlesbrough, Ipswich Town, managed by ex-United backroom staff and coaches, Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, and even Manchester City, pre-Guardiola, were not playing the dominant football we watch them play now until the right coach came in and instilled their style.

Erik Ten Hag (Photo Credit: ManUtd/X)

Therefore, it is not about the players, but rather the structure that is needed to play the desired style of football. Once the structure is in place, players can be signed to fit it.

A good example of this is Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. He did not start his journey with Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Robertson. Instead, he established his principles and gradually replaced players who did not fit those principles.

Jurgen Klopp with the FIFA Club World Cup trophy | Imago

This is what Guardiola did at Manchester City, and it is what Xabi Alonso or Julian Nagelsmann now linked to OT, would need to do if they end up at Manchester United under the management of Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Therefore, instead of blaming the players, the new coach needs to establish a structure that fits their desired style of play and gradually replace players who do not fit that structure. This is the most important thing, and it is what will lead to success at the club.

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