Steve McClaren still remembers the day he first met Erik ten Hag. The English coach went to work for FC Twente and had to deal with Ten Hag as a helper.
In 2008, McClaren signed with Grolsch Veste and on the first day of training, he met a passionate assistant at Ten Hagi. “He brought a piece of paper with him to write down a six-week preparation day,” the experienced coach recalled in an interview with The Athletic. “Every minute of every day was described, from drinking breaks to cooling off and individual sessions. It was so detailed. I’ve never seen it before or since.”
According to McClaren, Ten Hag was also very precise and meticulous in preparing for the matches. “He prepared all the possible plans that the opponent might have. He then also listed what we could offer in return: how we’re going to put pressure, how we’re building ourselves. I thought I knew a lot about football, but when I thought I didn’t know about football nothing at all. “
“He saw things no one else saw, not even me, during the game,” the Englishman continues. “I had to sit in the podium to see the patterns of the game, but he could just watch and notice them. He knew the answer to how to change formations and adjust positions. Erik’s shifts were the same as Sir Alex Ferguson’s. Sometimes you found it strange, but always worked. “
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