Manchester United assistant coach Steve McClaren says he has a "great feeling" about the current squad and that team spirit has returned under Erik ten Hag. The Red Devils have enjoyed a productive pre-season following the arrival of new manager Ten Hag, who replaced interim boss Ralf Rangnick in May.
One of the Dutchman's first orders of business was to draft in McClaren, who took in a spell as Sir Alex Ferguson's No.2 earlier in his career, and he has suggested the players are in good shape heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
What McClaren has said about United's team spirit
“This group have been fantastic. I get a great feeling,” McClaren told United's official website. “I’ve been into many, many dressing rooms and many dressing rooms for the first two, three, four weeks you kind of know and can smell [it].
“I’ve got a good feeling about this dressing room.”
He added: “The great thing that I’ve found is that these are great players to work with. They were a little quiet the first week: it [the training] was very demanding.
“But as we got to know the players, as we got more and more into training sessions and they know the demands, the intensity, the competition, the winning and losing, the banter that goes along with it, you can feel the noise and the volume in training, in the dressing room, around the hotel and around Carrington, start to [build].
“That’s what I like, that’s why I enjoy coaching, that’s why I enjoy coming back here because these are damn-good players. You can see that.
“I mean you’ve seen little bits of it in pre-season: the combination of the front three, the work rate of the midfield, you know the organisation at the back. These are good players and they really are – I know they found the first week tough and demanding."
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Expectations remain high at United despite a miserable 2021-22 season that saw them post their lowest ever Premier League points tally and drop out of the Champions League.
McClaren has insisted that attention must now turn to a new chapter at Old Trafford.
He said: “Last season, seasons are gone. The history is gone. It’s past.
“It’s about the future and we’ve got an opportunity to create that in a certain style and Erik wants to see that happen.
“The vibe that I’m getting from the players: they want it too. They want that discipline, they want to know what their jobs are. They want feedback on it. Because they want to win.
“I’m afraid at Manchester United you have to win.”
United will open their new campaign with a home fixture against Brighton on Sunday.
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