Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag explained the on-field clash with Anthony Martial during the first half against Newcastle United
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag clarified his on-field aggression towards Anthony Martial during the first half against Newcastle United. United lost 1-0 to the Magpies in the Premier League game at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle dominated the game from the start, pinning United in their half for most of the game. United failed to match the high intensity and tempo of the home side as tension built at the touchline.
Ten Hag lost his temper during one of the moments when Martial failed to press from the front. The moment allowed Fabian Schar to drive forward and initiate an attack for Newcastle.
Ten Hag told the reporters (h/t Manchester Evening News) that he wanted the team to react against Newcastle’s dominance. He said:
“It’s not about Anthony Martial, it’s about the team. I try to energise the team and try to get a reaction from the team in this moment. As you see, we had a tough period and when you’re coaching you are a little more aggressive, so that’s normal.”
Many fans and experts have criticized the Red Devil’s frontline for failing to contribute during the defensive phase. The Magpies initiated many attacks against United with the freedom to build from the backline.
Ten Hag has faced several off-field issues this season as the manager had a public fallout with Jadon Sancho. Guardian reported that several players blamed the Dutchman for the poor season due to his overloaded pre-season training regimes.
Sky Sports reporter Florian Plettenberg reported that Raphael Varane is unhappy with his situation at United. The Frenchman holds a prominent leadership position within the Red Devils’ locker room and commands high regard among his peers.
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United have already lost 10 games in all competitions this season as they face early Champions League elimination. Furthermore, the Red Devils cannot afford more dropped points while they challenge for the top four in the Premier League.
Ten Hag cannot afford to lose the dressing room before the congested December fixture period as the pressure increases. At the same time, the Dutchman need his players to contribute more in defensive phases and press the opposition better.