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Jermaine Jenas suggests Manchester United players were unhappy with Erik ten Hag tactics vs Newcastle

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Jermaine Jenas observed that Manchester United players did not seem on board with the tactics employed by Erik ten Hag

Jermaine Jenas claimed that Manchester United players are unhappy about the tactics that Erik ten Hag deployed against Newcastle United. The Red Devils lost 1-0 to the Magpies at St James Park in the Premier League showdown on Saturday.

Newcastle dominated with 59% possession while producing waves of attacks throughout the game as United players failed to retaliate. They pushed United deep in their half for most of the game and took 22 shots with four on target. Newcastle broke the deadlock in the 55th minute of the game with a clinical finish from Anthony Gordon.

The Red Devils only managed to muster eight shots in return with only one hitting the target. United almost managed an equaliser from Antony but the ball hit Harry Maguire who was in offside position.

Manchester United's Dutch manager Erik ten Hag looks on during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on December 2, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag need to maintain the control of his dressing room to rejuvenate the team’s form. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The game involved a tense incident between United manager Erik ten Hag and Anthony Martial during the first half. The manager showed his displeasure when Martial failed to press Fabian Schar as the Newcastle centre-back built an attack.

The French forward reacted negatively to Ten Hag’s action, summing up the visibly poor attitude of the visiting team.

Speaking to TNT Sports (h/t Mirror), Jenas asserted that United players acted poorly in retaliation to the manager’s tactics. He said:

“I personally thought tonight there were signs that there were a couple of players in there for me that either wasn’t happy with the tactics that was put to them or wasn’t happy with their positions on the pitch.

Ten Hag deployed a rigid 4-2-4 formation in the recent games to get the best out of the players. The formation uses a double-pivot midfield with Bruno Fernandes as the advanced midfielder right behind the lead striker.

Furthermore, wide attackers are responsible for stretching the opposition by staying wide instead of the usual inside forward role. The United boss deployed Marcus Rashford in the right wing instead of his favourable left-wing position.

The England international prefers to play from the left, using his signature dribbling inside-and-shoot strategy. However, the 26-year-old has been well below par this season, struggling to produce goals and assist for his team.

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Ten Hag has applied many approaches and tactics this season to improve his struggling side but they’ve failed so far. The Dutchman’s 4-2-4 formation might be divisive but it has shown slight improvement in the team’s performance.

The 53-year-old cannot continuously change his strategies to make every player happy while the players need to act professionally. The Red Devils cannot afford to lose more ground as they chase the top-four position in the Premier League.

Written by Siddharth Juyal

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