Manchester United stars have a new lounge at Old Trafford after manager Erik ten Hag forced the hand of the club’s owners the Glazers to transform the room into a pre-match base for his players. The United squad used the lounge in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand for the first time ahead of their Premier League opener against Wolves last Monday and went on to win the match 1-0.
According to the Sunday Mirror, Red Devils players previously used the lounge to enjoy pre-match meals but were then made to vacate the room so corporate guests could be entertained. Ten Hag felt the arrangement was unacceptable and told club chiefs to spend money turning the room into a permanent base for his players.
The facility includes a relaxation area and a bespoke kitchen for club chefs to prepare food. United stars were impressed with the state-of-the-art lounge after using it before the Wolves game and believe they will reap the benefits of being given unlimited access to it.
And a United insider said: “The players are delighted with the new arrangement. It really will make a difference in allowing the manager to prepare them more thoroughly in the build-up to home matches.”
Red Devils players had also previously used the five-star Lowry Hotel in Manchester city centre to prepare for matches before facing a coach trip to the stadium. But journeys could be made problematic due to heavy traffic – and Ten Hag demanded a change as he told his superiors that United should be run more like a football club and less like a money-spinning enterprise.
United had to reconfigure their facilities at the back of the old South Stand to give Ten Hag what he wanted and will lose revenue from corporate fans as a result. But the change illustrates the backing the former Ajax manager is getting at Old Trafford as previous bosses Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho had similar requests for a players’ lounge rejected when they were in charge of the club.
United players will be hoping to make the most of their home comforts when they return to Old Trafford to host Nottingham Forest next Saturday. The Red Devils travelled to north London to take on Tottenham in their latest match this weekend but came out second best as they went away empty-handed.
Pape Sarr opened the scoring for Spurs four minutes into the second half, before Lisandro Martinez turned the ball into his own net late on as the Lilywhites won the match 2-0. The Red Devils ended the day 10th in the Premier League table.