Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag acknowledges that “one or two” players approached him with suggestions to improve the side’s form
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag confessed that “one or two” players addressed him, suggesting ways to improve United’s form. The Red Devils have lost 10 games in all competitions this season, conceding 34 goals while struggling to score themselves.
Ten Hag faced difficulties in implementing a specific tactical approach that could optimize the potential of the players at his disposal. He recently deployed a rigid 4-2-4 formation, which helped United build a three-game winning run in the Premier League.
The formation shifted attacking wide players like Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho to the opposite flanks in a different role. In the current tactics, wide attackers are responsible for stretching the opposition and exploiting the bylines more than cutting inside.
Rashford, in particular, has struggled to contribute from his favourable left-wing position in all phases of the game. The England international finished last season as the leading goal scorer and earned a lucrative contract for his performance. However, the 26-year-old has regressed to the inconsistencies he showed in his career.
Many fans and football pundits have criticized Rashford and many attacking players for being too selfish and lazy. The recent performance against Newcastle United acts as strong evidence for the criticism levied against the senior team players.
Speaking to the news conference (h/t ESPN), Ten Hag confessed that a couple of players addressed him over the predicament. He said:
“I listen always to my players and I give them always opportunities to tell, if the players have a different opinion of course I will listen. But they haven’t told me. Or maybe one or two. But it is about in general, the majority, they want to play like this — proactive, dynamic, brave, that is what they want.”
The frontline failed to press from the front and trackback Newcastle’s deep runners from the defence and midfield. The poor work ethic helped the Magpies dominate the Premier League game as they beat United 1-0.
Many players showed their discontentment on the pitch, raising questions about their willingness to work under Ten Hag’s tactics. The Dutchman had a visible altercation with Anthony Martial in the first half with the forward reacting negatively as well.
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Ten Hag cannot afford the tactical discontentment leading up to any unrest in the dressing room. The Red Devils are currently seventh in the Premier League, five points behind the top-four position.
United are gearing up to encounter challenging fixtures in the packed December schedule. They will also face Bayern Munich in their last Champions League Group A clash. Ten Hag’s team need to win the home game against Bayern with the hope of a draw between FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray, which is the only way they can qualify for the knockout stage.