According to a report from ESPN, there was a feeling inside the squad that some of prior interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s public comments about the squad ‘affected’ the players following their miserable season.
It’s added that Ten Hag has taken no time in distancing himself from the German’s tough assessment of the team, that included the squad needing ‘open-heart surgery’ this summer.
United chiefs were keen for Ten Hag to play down expectations after suffering their worst ever Premier League campaign, though the 52-year-old felt it was important to improve the confidence within the squad.
Erik ten Hag was warned by Manchester United chiefs to temper expectations ahead of his first season in charge
Ralf Rangnick was frank about the issues surrounding United’s squad prior to his departure
The former Ajax manager has talked up the players he inherited – which led United to a sixth place finish and qualification to the Europa League.
It’s said though that despite his public praise for players including Fred and Scott McTominay, behind the scenes, he is ‘well aware’ they could struggle without further strengthening.
Rangnick had initially been contracted to stay on as a consultant following the end of his spell in charge but ultimately departed the club by mutual consent at the end of last season.
Prior to leaving United, the now Austria manager pulled no punches when it came to assessing the scale of the issues surrounding the squad.
He said: ‘For me it’s not enough to do some minor amendments, some little issues here and there and little cosmetic things.
‘In medicine, you would say that this is an operation of the open heart. There are more things to be changed than some little things here and some minor things there.’
Danish international Christian Eriksen made the move to Old Trafford this summer
United talisman Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at the club remains in doubt after he asked to leave
Though Ten Hag has brought in the likes of Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen in a bid to strengthen the depth of his options for his maiden season in charge at Old Trafford, the club remains embroiled in multiple ongoing transfer sagas.
Frenkie de Jong who had been earmarked as Ten Hag’s top target prior to current transfer window is currently poised to make a shock move to Chelsea, while the deal for Adrien Rabiot appears to have reached a stalemate over personal terms.
Meanwhile United talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has made clear his intentions to depart the club this summer over the failure to secure Champions League football, despite United being yet to receive a credible bid for the 37-year-old.
United started off the season with a 2-1 defeat against Brighton – suggesting that the Dutchman has a big task in hand at turning fortunes around at Old Trafford.
They will aim to bounce back with a win against Brentford at the weekend, before a huge challenge against rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.