STEVE McCLAREN is “ready for the chaos” of Manchester United as he seeks to instil a winning culture back into the club
McClaren was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson when they won the Treble in 1999 before later going on to manage Middlesbrough and England.
Steve McClaren is ready to restore Manchester United to their former glory
But the 61-year-old has returned to Old Trafford as an assistant to new manager Erik ten Hag.
And ahead of the start of pre-season on Monday, he said: “I am getting ready for the chaos that will happen when the players come in on the 27th.”
It is chaos at United right now after they finished with their lowest Premier League points tally last season, six players heading out of the exit door when their contracts expire and no new signings announced yet.
But McClaren is back to make some sense of it all and get the club back on track.
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And he has laid down his ideas and plans to do just that with the club’s millionaire flops after reading about ex-Burnley boss Sean Dyche.
McClaren explained: “He said the ‘big hairy goal’ was to get Burnley from the Championship into the Premier League and stay there — and it was a five-year plan.
“It was really simple, he said to get up and stay up he needs to keep it simple and do these three things — and these things were non-negotiable, they were simple.
“There were three non-negotiables pinned on the wall — ‘noses pointed in the same direction’, ‘the minimum requirement is maximum effort’ and just ‘give us your legs, hearts and minds’.
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“Everything was encompassed in those three non-negotiables. I am thinking, ‘Wow, that is so simple’.
“Every day, every game must be so simple because if we did them three things we would win, and look what he achieved in his time at Burnley.”
McClaren will dive into his experiences from over two decades ago to bring that winning mentality back.
He said: “When I first went to Manchester United, there was hardly any rules.
“But what they did, they did the right things and if they didn’t do the right things they owned it and they suffered the consequences and accepted the consequences — and if you have those non-negotiables around then you can’t go wrong.”
United are resetting the whole culture at the club under new boss Ten Hag and McClaren says they will need the right characters in the dressing room to do that.
Speaking on The McClaren Performance Podcast he said: “Culture is all about people and we can all have these ‘big hairy goals’ and sayings written on the walls but it is about people and getting the right people who buy in and have character.”
McCLaren also referenced the hard work that needs to be done on the training ground in midweek, which is where games are won and lost.
He said: “These are the things that we need to do, things like we all need to connect with each other.
“Games are won Monday to Friday, if you get Monday to Friday right, games are won on Saturday. Each and everyone has to bring energy.”
And McClaren stressed the importance of body language, adding: “A lot of people now, body language arms up in the air, you’ve got to react to get that ball back, win that ball back, whatever situation, react quick don’t think about it.”
He warned United’s millionaire flops that they will have to abide by the rules brought in by the new management, and the need for everyone to be a “class act”.
McClaren stressed the importance of good body language
McClaren continued: “You’ve got to accept the rules, the conditions, you’ve got to accept the consequences if you do things wrong.
“You’ve got to commit, you’ve got to be a class act. You’ve got to be a class act, especially in today’s football.”
In the podcast he also jumped to the defence of Gareth Southgate.
The England boss has come through a tough fortnight in the Nations League which saw the Three Lions lose twice to Hungary, including 4-0 at home, as well as drawing 1-1 with Germany and 0-0 with Italy.
McClaren believes he should be better off for those results than if he had played safe with team selection and earned victories.
He said: “He will be in a far better position after those four games than if they had won.
“Expectations all of a sudden are greater, higher, ‘he hadn’t tried things’, ‘he just played safe’ — and he didn’t play safe, he took risks.
“Gareth has experimented, picked a squad, changed the team and personnel and shape and tactics and experimented.
“He was looking at new players, players who had not got the opportunity before — and this is normal.
“He will be sat thinking, ‘That was a good four games’.
“Although the criticism he got and the results or performances weren’t what he wanted, he will certainly be clearer in his mind what England is all about — what it takes, things you can change, things you can’t change, things you can introduce, things you can’t introduce.
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“These are great games: Hungary were more hungry; Italy, Germany — hard games.
“My thing with England was the friendlies and the small nations, you get nothing out of them, you don’t learn anything. Playing Italy and Germany, Hungary, he has learned so much.”