I was Manchester United assistant for six years - this is what Rene Hake and Ruud van Nistelrooy should know

Rene Hake and Ruud van Nistelrooy are joining Manchester UnitedRene Hake and Ruud van Nistelrooy are joining Manchester United
Rene Hake and Ruud van Nistelrooy are joining Manchester United | ManchesterWorld
Man Utd are set to appoint both Ruud van Nistelrooy and Rene Hake to their backroom staff.

Erik ten Hag will face more scrutiny than ever before at Manchester United in the forthcoming season, but he is not the only one responsible for their performances on the pitch.

Although the manager will be the one held to account if United don't improve over the next campaign, it is also down to his revamped coaching team to ensure standards are met and their targets are achieved.

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A key part of Ten Hag's contract extension was for a refreshed coaching department to be implemented, with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Rene Hake joining the club, while Mitchell van der Gaag could leave and Benni McCarthy already has done so.

The importance of having trusted assistants is not lost on Rene Meulensteen, who spent six years as Sir Alex Ferguson's diligent deputy, winning four Premier League titles as well as the Champions League.

"It's massive. At the end of the day, the most important thing is loyalty and trust, so eventually, even if you disagree, you then come to a final decision and you back it, "he tells ManchesterWorld in an interview with Freebets. "You're not going to question it afterward or say, 'yeah I told you so', you go for it together, that's the strength that you need. It's important that a manager or a head coach can rely on the fact that assistants can deal with certain aspects where he doesn't have to be involved.

"Under Sir Alex Ferguson it was great because he delegated everything, he never had to worry about any training session whatsoever. That was all taken off. That frees up a lot of space for other things. Younger managers like Erik are much more hands-on, but that's not always good. Sometimes less is more because the impact is bigger."

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It is unclear the precise roles Van Nistelrooy and Hake will have at Old Trafford going forward, but Meulensteen is excited by the appointments. In club great Van Nistelrooy they have someone deeply entwined with the standards and expectations of the club, though he admits Hake might find things a little difficult at first, particularly with regard to the egos he will have to handle.

He added: "I know Ruud really well, had some really good conversations with him, and discussed opportunities for myself to work with him at PSV before this was announced. He had a strong sense of doing well as a number 1 and was linked with the Burnley job as well. In football, you have to be clear in what suits you in terms of what you want. I felt Ruud had a very strong sense of being number 1 and staying number 1, but it all depends on the conversations he had with Erik.

"He's somebody who knows the club, knows what's expected for a club the size of Manchester United, so I do think it's a good appointment. Erik must have had some good conversations with him about what he wants. It's hard for me to tell you what sort of coach he is, as I've never worked with him in that capacity. But I know him from when I was working with him as a player, and if he's anything like what he was as a player, he's a top, top professional. Very meticulous in everything that he does and I wouldn't expect anything else from him as a coach.

"I'm sure he'll be hands-on. There's another coach in Rene Hake who's a friend of his who's worked with him at Utrecht, and I think it's all part and parcel of the review. The club will have looked at why were there so many injuries and where they come from. A lot of times, that has something to do with the training regime: Training too much, too long, and too intense at times. It's a big shake-up with regards to the backroom staff because the Goalkeeper coach and a host of others are leaving, with new people coming in. The whole playing squad will look at a new set of staff, aside from Erik of course."

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While Van Nistelrooy won't need any introduction to United supporters, Hake is someone far less familiar to fans. He has only ever managed in the Netherlands, where he has forged a reputation as a respected trainer, with a keen focus on discipline and a similar tactical approach to that of Ten Hag.

Meulensteen is interested to see how he fares in Manchester, particularly in an elite environment where players will need to be handled differently than he is previously used to.

He added: "Hake's always worked in Holland in medium type of teams, never at the top end. Never worked with the top players at Ajax PSV or Feyenoord.

"He did a fantastic job with Go Ahead Eagles, last year he got them into Europe which is a great achievement. But working with Man United is a completely different kettle of fish.

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"With top, top players you need to inform them in training, you need to facilitate and then a little bit of direction. But it's not like the traditional coaching style, you need to empower them. Top players, as long as they know what they need to do, they will take ownership. If they take ownership, it's better for the performances because then it becomes their game, their decisions, rather than telling them what to do.

"If you tell them what to do, it becomes rigid and they only try and do the 'right' thing because you told them to do this. If you want creativity and unpredictability you need to give them freedom. Otherwise, unpredictability and creativity don't exist and that is the danger. Coaches who have only worked at that level are used to telling the players what to do, repeating, repeating, repeating. When you work with top players, you have a different approach."

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