Steve McClaren has already made his feelings clear about Manchester United's underachievement - Richard Fay

Steve McClaren has already made his feelings clear about Manchester United’s underachievement – Richard Fay


Of all the difficult moments Manchester United have had in the past decade, few have been as bleak as the second half at Brighton a week ago.

United were anything but on the pitch, with a rambling and disinterested performance from a group of individuals who seemed to prefer to be somewhere else than there.

“You’re not fit to wear the shirt,” was the chant from the other side, as the stalwart matchgoing Reds, so often the voice of reason, finally cracked down on a side that let them down to d Countless times this season.

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It’s hard to remember a time when the connection between players and fans was so loose, and it’s hard to remember a side of the club’s illustrious history that was so lackluster.

Lack of effort is also not something that has crept in over the past few weeks, with attitude issues plaguing much of the season and exposed to new extremes when Ralf Rangnick replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last November.

Erik ten Hag will have a huge job to do if he is to implement the ‘winner mentality’ he has identified as a key factor behind Ajax’s latest midweek title win, and the key to this will be a ruthless overhaul of the play team that failed so often throughout the campaign.

Another big thing will be the staff he brings in to support him, one of whom has already made his feelings very clear about underachieving players this season.

Steve McClaren, the former England manager and assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at United, is being targeted by Ten Hag for a role in his behind-the-scenes team and is seen as someone who could provide invaluable insight into the politics of the club.

Ten Hag was one of McClaren’s assistants during his successful spell at FC Twente, and although he admits he has no interest in becoming first-team manager again, he is believed to be relishing the opportunity of a role reversal by replacing his former sidekick. .

The 61-year-old could bring a wealth of experience to the Ten Hag side and offer insight into how the English game works, but more importantly could be his ruthless verdict on who is essential this summer.

“What disappointed me was 3-1 with 25 minutes left and the players stopped running,” McClaren told talkSPORT of the United side which lost to Man City in March. “They didn’t stop running for the manager, they stopped running for each other. Then you have problems.

“In adversity, that’s when they have to stick together, and they never have. Beneath that surface there are big problems in that dressing room, and nobody’s dealing with them. The solution is quite simple, they need a manager who the players will trust and who they will run for and die for them.

“You have to get the bad guys out of the dressing room. That’s key, and Roy Keane was there. Five or six of them don’t deserve to wear the shirt. Get them out of the club and sign players who will run and will fight for this shirt.”

United are set to undergo a complete squad overhaul this summer, with six players leaving for free when their contracts expire, while another handful could also be moved on quite easily.

Rangnick has previously advised United to sign up to ten new players at the end of the season, although some club sources believe that verdict is extreme, with reconstruction work more likely to comprise half that number at most. .

That means McClaren might not be able to implement the large-scale suppression he had hoped for, but getting rid of a few of these “bad guys” would definitely be a start.

A week after being told they weren’t fit to wear the shirt, some of them will never wear it again.

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