Manchester United players have ‘turned’ on Erik ten Hag according to a strongly-worded report, with the treatment of Jadon Sancho and another Red Devils star dividing senior players.
The Red Devils are in the midst of their worst start to a season since 1962/63, with eight losses in their opening 15 games the worst it’s been for Manchester United in a staggering 51 years. Wednesday’s bleak Carabao Cup thrashing at home to Newcastle saw the pressure cranked up on Ten Hag, who accepted after the game that results and performances had not been good enough but was adamant he remains the right man to turn the tide around.
With pressure building, talk that Ten Hag faces the sack is gathering pace and has seen the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Roberto De Zerbi touted as possible successors.
Should he survive then Ten Hag will need an immediate reaction from his players, starting on Saturday at Fulham where they face a lunchtime showdown before travelling to Denmark for a must-win Champions League clash at FC Copenhagen. Only a win in both matches will be enough to keep the wolves from the Dutchman’s door.
If he is to start getting positive results, then he’ll need to get his players onside first. And, as our exclusive revealed on Thursday, senior United players are now publicly starting to lose their faith in the manager, questioning his tactics, substitutions and transfers.
It all makes for an extremely worrying period for the club, and, according to the Daily Telegraph, it is the treatment of two players in particular that have divided the squad at Old Trafford.
Sancho and Maguire treatment upsets Man Utd squad
Indeed, Sancho’s problems have been well documented with the player currently barred from all first-team facilities and training on his own after calling out his manager on social media.
That row first began back in early September when the 23-times capped England winger was axed from the squad that lost 3-1 at Arsenal. Since then, Sancho has refused to back down and has seen himself effectively transfer-listed with United willing to listen to offers for him and setting a modest fee for his services with his chances of playing for the club again seemingly bleak.
To that end, we exclusively revealed that the hunt for Sancho’s services is being led by Juventus, who are looking into a proposed initial loan deal.
Perversely, the falling out with Sancho is not the first time Ten Hag’s treatment of a senior star has caused issues at Old Trafford. Indeed, United defender Harry Maguire has also fallen foul of the United manager, being stripped of the captaincy and put up for sale over the summer.
While injuries have since seen Maguire get another opportunity to shine – which he appears to have taken inspite of the team’s struggles – the Telegraph claims that other members of the squad have questioned his methods and treatment of the 60-times capped England defender.
However, the paper claims not all of United’s squad are against their manager. Indeed, some are very backing his stern regime and feel he remains the right man to turn the tide around. But with the squad divided, that divide is reportedly very apparent among the players, who don’t all appear to be pulling in the same direction, hence their current troubles.
Paul Merson feels Ten Hag has lost Man Utd dressing room
That split has clearly very evident in recent displays and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes there may be no way back for Ten Hag, believing he may have now ‘lost the dressing room’.
“I don’t see how much further this goes on,” he said. “I’ve read in the paper it could cost £15m (to sack him)… but that’s nothing really; it’s ost them £80 in Sancho.. They chased him for god knows how long, they pay £80m for him and he says one thing and then he’s completely out the picture.
“He’ll probably move on in January and continue paying half his wages, so this needs to get sorted out. I think it’s toxic. It doesn’t matter about it being ‘toxic’ behind the scenes; I’d be more worried about what is happening out on the pitch. And at the moment, they are all over the place.
“If it wasn’t for a last-minute penalty save against Copenhagen, they’d have drawn against them. Come on… For me, he’s under serious pressure. They’ve got to have a meeting and see what they are going to do.
“At the moment, I don’t know what they are going to do here. There are ways to lose football matches and he has lost the players – they cannot get beat the way they are getting beat. This is not good in my opinion, not good.”
Ten Hag, meanwhile, has called for unity in the squad ahead of a critical run.
“It’s the only way we can do this. Shoulder by shoulder. Then we will come through this,” Ten Hag said.
“You have to be disciplined and do it with togetherness, everyone takes responsibility and be accountable. Co-operate – that is the key word.”
United currently sit eighth in the Premier League but are a distant eight points behind the Champions League places already.