Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag affirmed unity within the dressing room despite swirling rumors of unrest
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag rebuffed the rumours about unrest in the dressing room, reassuring togetherness in the team. The Red Devils have lost 10 games in all competitions this season, raising questions over the team morale and unity.
United lost 1-0 to Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday in a game that the host dominated thoroughly. The Magpies kept 59% of the possession, building the play from a high defensive line. United failed to defend as a team from the front as Newcastle restricted them in their half.
The match involved a verbal altercation between Ten Hag and forward Anthony Martial. The Frenchman failed to press Fabian Schar as the Newcastle defender split United’s middle open with an easy pass.
United fans did not find the loss as hurtful as the lack of conviction and effort from the United players. The poor body language combined with unhappy gestures throughout the evening summed up United’s season in one game.
Speaking to reporters (h/t Sky Sports), Ten Hag reassured that there is unity in the dressing room at Man United. He said:
“Not in the dressing room. Of course there are a lot of rumours but it is not that we get distracted by it. We are on a journey. We know we are in transition but we are in the right direction. We construct a team, develop it, the team is progressing, young players are coming in and you see the potential of how they can contribute to a successful Manchester United team for the future.”
Many football fans and pundits speculate that United players harbour dissatisfaction with the manager’s deployed tactics. Furthermore, there is a lot of question surrounding the decision to bench Raphael Varane when United have limited defenders available.
Ten Hag deployed Luke Shaw as a make-shift centre-back against Newcastle instead of playing Varane.
Ten Hag has deployed a rigid 4-2-4 formation while deploying Marcus Rashford on the right flank. The England international favours the left side from where he can cut inside and shoot from his stronger right foot.
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Rashford faced criticism for his limited contribution to the team during open play. Rashford doesn’t actively track back and press opponents when United are without possession.
Ten Hag cannot afford any unrest in the dressing room as they head into the congested December fixture. This month, the Red Devils have matches lined up against teams such as Chelsea, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich.