Jamie Carragher explained why Erik ten Hag is in the right regarding his ongoing skirmish with Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho, while Liverpool and Manchester City examples were cited in his defence of the Dutch manager.
Sancho v Ten Hag is just one of several off-field storylines that have combined to disrupt the harmony at Man Utd over recent months.
The future of Mason Greenwood and domestic violence allegations levied against Antony have also contributed to the ill-feeling surrounding the club. However, with Greenwood now loaned to Getafe and Antony afforded a leave of absence as he attempts to clear his name, Sancho v Ten Hag has taken centre stage.
The saga began when Ten Hag claimed Sancho’s lack of commitment in training was behind his surprise omission from the Premier League clash with Arsenal earlier in September.
Sancho fired back at his manager on social media, claiming he was being scapegoated. The United winger also effectively called Ten Hag a liar with regards to his application in training.
Sancho has since been banished from first-team training amid an ongoing refusal to apologise to Ten Hag. Neither party has thus far shown any signs of backing down.
Now, when appearing on the first episode of the Stick to Football podcast, pundit Jamie Carragher explained why he believes Sancho is the one in the wrong.
Carragher cited Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Man City manager Pep Guardiola as two examples of ruthless managers who earn rave reviews for taking hard-line stances with their players.
Guardiola’s insistence on turfing out Joao Cancelo – despite the Portuguese’s stellar displays in a City shirt over recent years – was referenced.
Ten Hag doing what Klopp, Guardiola would; Sancho “has been awful” – Carragher
“I’m with the manager on this one,” said Carragher. “Normally in these situations we don’t know anything that’s gone on behind the scenes, but I’m normally with the manager.
“You think of Ten Hag and where he’s got to get to, and we rave about Jurgen Klopp in these situations, or Pep Guardiola only a few months ago with [Joao] Cancelo, who was a great player for them, but he was gone – sold. They deal with those situations, and we say they are strong managers and very ruthless.
“Ten Hag almost can’t afford to lose this fight. He’s come out and I don’t think it’s massive what he said in the press conference after the game.
“He’s been asked a question why Sancho isn’t in the squad, and the answer is he hasn’t trained right.
“Because Ten Tag is going through a really difficult spell – Man Utd haven’t started the season well – we say ‘he’s losing the dressing room’ but if he was winning, we’d be saying ‘he’s ruthless, he’s dealt with the situation and sent a message to the dressing room’.
“I’m always with the manager on this. It’s not even heavy criticism – has he been training right? He’s been awful – he’s been really poor considering how much he cost Manchester United and his reputation.”