There seems to be a good spirit in the Manchester United camp, at least according to recent training footage that shows Bruno Fernandes embracing Steve McClaren.
McClaren is back at United over 20 years after leaving his post as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant. He departed Old Trafford in 2001 to embark on his own managerial career, which included memorable stints at Middlesbrough, England, Derby and Newcastle United.
The 61-year-old has also coached overseas, and famously led FC Twente to the Eredivisie title back in the 2009-10 season, when he had a young Dutch coach by the name of Erik ten Hag at his side.
“I think going to Holland was the best move that I’ve made in my career,” McClaren told The Coaching Manual last year. “I remember going there and Bobby Robson said to me ‘go on your own son, the coaches are great, football’s great, you’ll learn a lot.
“I went on my own and my first assistant was Erik ten Hag, who is now manager of Ajax. And my second year was Alfred Schroeder, who is the assistant to Erik at Ajax.
“I had two very good assistants in the two years I was there. The Dutch taught me a whole new football identity and way of playing. And I had to adapt and embrace that and I did, and it was fantastic.
“To sum my experience in Holland up, they taught me about possession football, how to play football, build-up from the back.”
The tables have now turned, with McClaren back as an assistant at Manchester United, serving head coach Ten Hag.
“The work ethic, the attention to detail has again just been exemplified in the last few days where he’s practically met every member of staff who he’s going to be working very closely with, and in detail has worked out the plan, what each person’s job is,” revealed McClaren on his podcast back in May.
“It’s like going back in time 10 years ago when I first met him, everything was mapped out and again that’s the case.”
Ten Hag led United to an impressive 4-0 friendly victory over Liverpool in pre-season, and after a disastrously disappointing 2021-22 campaign in which there appeared to be a palpably toxic dressing room atmosphere, it appears that the new coaching staff are bringing some positivity back to the camp.
There were enthusiastic celebrations following one of their training exercises, which ended up with Fernandes running over to McClaren to give him a big hug.