Erik ten Hag has admitted “one or two” players have questioned his mode of play but said there was no disorder at Manchester United after Saturday’s defeat at Newcastle and reports of dressing room unrest that led to the banning of several media outlets.
United received severe criticism for an insipid display in the 1-0 loss at St James’ Park. Stories then emerged of the manager having lost the confidence of several players.
Ten Hag was asked on Tuesday whether he listens to his squad. “I always listen to my players and I always give them opportunities to tell, if the players have a different opinion of course I will listen,” he said. “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.
“You can see the players are behind it because of the performances against Everton and Galatasaray. Do you think we can make the goals we did against Everton if the players don’t embrace it? I am sure [the players are behind me].
United said they had banned some media organisations from Tuesday’s press conference to preview Wednesday’s visit of Chelsea owing to the club not being contacted before publication.
It was put to Ten Hag that this offered a sense of disorder around United. “Not in the dressing room,” he said. “There are a lot of rumours about strategic review [carried out internally], but it is not that we get distracted by it. We are on a journey, a route, we know we are still in transition but we are in the right direction, you see it how we construct a team, develop it, the team is progressing, how young players [are] coming in and you see the potential how they can contribute to a very successful Manchester United for the future.”
Of the performance at Newcastle, he said: “We are not robots. If you play three games in six days, tough games. By the end the fatigue can be an issue, never an excuse, but it is there. Against Galatasaray, against Everton we played very well. Against Newcastle we were not happy with our performance.”