ERIK TEN HAG is searching high and low for anything that will help him transform Manchester United’s fortunes.
And for the Dutchman, that means sooner rather than later.
For he knows in the cut-throat world of trying to win trophies, there is no time to waste.
Such is Ten Hag’s minute attention to detail he has upgraded the DRONE that his coaches use to monitor training.
Ten Hag has only been in charge for seven months but he said: “When you change things in an organisation and change the way of playing, it’s difficult.
“In top-level football, opponents want to kill you — and that has happened.
“We had to quickly adapt and our squad has been really terrific.”
Ten Hag was faced with an enormous task when he replaced interim boss Ralf Rangnick in May.
That is why his team of coaches and performance analysts have also had long discussions with counterparts from some of the cycling teams who took part in last year’s Tour de France over diet and sleep patterns.
And that is why, as witnessed during a training session in the recent break to southern Spain, there are now over 20 coaches and assistants overseeing the work being done.
Every session is filmed to be broken down and then presented back to Ten Hag.
He has also introduced a Dutch firm called the Talent Academy Group, made up of life coaches and psychologists who work twice a week with the players.
One of them, Rainier Koers, stood alone and watched the action as the squad prepared for the season’s return near Jerez.
Of his expertise as a life coach, he stated: “Helping people is something which makes me very happy.
“I do that by listening, watching and feeling what is going on with the other person — and making them aware of unconscious behaviours.”
They also work with gymnasts, wind surfers, cycling and ice hockey teams, as well as Eredivisie clubs.
Change is something Ten Hag knew he had to bring about fast following a miserable campaign, first under sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer then Rangnick, that saw United’s worst points tally of the Premier League era.
They collected only 58, scored 57 goals and managed just 16 wins to finish sixth in the table.
But now even the drone keeping an eagle eye on stars has been modernised.
It helps give Ten Hag a unique view of every movement his players make, either in behind-closed-doors games or simply in warm-ups.
And today Ten Hag will welcome back to his hardcore training regime nine players who were in Qatar up to the quarter-finals.
But how many will be involved in Wednesday night’s return to action in the Carabao Cup fourth-round clash with Burnley he cannot be sure.
What all of them can be certain about is that there has been no softening of his stance since being “killed” in a horror start to his reign.
His side lost 2-1 at home to Brighton on the opening day of the season, before a 4-0 humiliation at Brentford.
But they go back into Premier League action against Nottingham Forest on December 27 and currently sit in fifth — just three points below fourth-placed Tottenham and with a game in hand over Antonio Conte’s men.
Ten Hag added: “The mentality has changed and also our way of playing changed during the season, our style.
“We are still growing of course — and now we just have to try to keep the process going.”
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