Marcel Sabitzer has opened up on his six-month loan spell at Manchester United, as well as Erik ten Hag’s management style, in a fascinating interview following his Old Trafford exit.
The 29-year-old midfielder joined United on the final day of the January transfer window to provide cover for Casemiro and Christian Eriksen.
He would notch three goals and one assist in 18 appearances for the Reds, including a brace against Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final.
Although he picked up a number of injuries during his time at Old Trafford, Sabitzer delivered a number of steady performances in the middle of the park when called upon.
But after some consideration, United decided against making his move permanent this summer.
Shortly after returning to parent club Bayern Munich, he signed a four-year deal with Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund, who reportedly splashed a fee of around €20 million [£17.3m] on the Austria international.
Sabitzer has kept relatively quiet about his spell at United until this week, when he touched on Erik ten Hag and the club’s current form in a lengthy interview withThe Athletic.
As well as admitting “there was a feeling that United were coming back to where they belong” during his time at the club, Sabitzer added: “I went straight into the deep end after that tricky time at Bayern.
“I felt perfect on the pitch and regained my confidence, I realised that I still had it and, despite not having that rhythm that comes with regular starts, I showed that I could still do it at that level.
“It helped me a lot. Physically, mentally and football-wise, I’m very happy with how the last 10, 11 months have gone.”
The Austrian says he feels “very positive” about his short spell in Manchester and still keeps in touch with “a couple” of people at the club.
He does, however, have sympathy for their current situation. United recorded their worst start to a season in 61 years following eight defeats in 15 games.
“You ask yourself, ‘What’s going on?’ There’s a lot of noise, results are not good, they’ve had defeats at home, which almost felt unthinkable last season,” Sabitzer added. “And there’s still the unresolved situation of the ownership.
“You can see what that does to a team. I feel sorry for them because they’re all good guys, and extremely hungry for success.”
As well as commenting on his form in the famous red, Sabitzer opened up about Erik ten Hag and his desire to succeed.
“You can wake him up at 3am, he’d tell you his whole match plan by heart. He’s very knowledgeable about football and tactics — a very hard worker, a perfectionist. And he’s very straight with you,” Sabitzer said.
“When I had a bad game, he showed me some situations and told me how to do it better next time. I liked that. You knew where you stood with him. He never threw you under the bus. Instead, he told players to go out and do better in the next game.
“I learned a lot about football working under him. He’s a very good coach.”