Erik Ten Hag: Man Utd players are fighting together to turn around poor form

Erik Ten Hag insists Manchester United are fighting together to try to turn their season around.

The Red Devils have lost four of their first six matches, with Wednesday’s 4-3 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League following a 3-1 reversal against Brighton, leaving Ten Hag embattled little over a month into the new campaign.

The Dutchman said: “It’s my second year. I know it’s not always only going up, you will have your gaps and you get stronger from it as long as you stay together, and that’s what we’re doing.

“The dressing room, staff, all the staff, coaches, medical, everyone is united and at United you fight.”

Stories of disgruntlement in the dressing room have begun to appear while the attitude of players has also been question.

Ten Hag tried to paint a positive picture, saying: “I don’t know if it’s a leak but I know opinion, I know my players. Everyone can make suggestions, we are OK with it.”

There have also been suggestions of unhappiness at the influence of Ten Hag’s agent, Kees Vos, and his Sports Entertainment Group on transfer dealings.

“It can’t be because we make very good agreements about it from the start, how we cooperate in that manner,” said Ten Hag. “For player decisions, transfers, it’s always 50-50, we both have a veto – the club, represented by John Murtough, and me. So there can never be a distraction.”

United’s poor form has made Saturday’s trip to Burnley a high-pressure occasion, and they will again be without Jadon Sancho, who remains absent from the squad.

“It depends on him,” said Ten Hag. “For the rest, we are preparing for Burnley and that’s our focus. He will not be in the squad.”

United have not been helped by a multitude of injuries but could have Raphael Varane, Mason Mount, Sofyan Amrabat and Harry Maguire back for the clash at Turf Moor.

Central to United’s problems has been a lack of defensive solidity, with 14 goals conceded in their last five games.

Brighton players celebrate during their 3-1 win over United
Brighton players celebrate during their 3-1 win over United (Martin Rickett/PA)

Goalkeeper Andre Onana held his hands up after making a mistake for Bayern’s first goal but Ten Hag believes the problems are collective.

“It’s about team and, as a team, we don’t have the results in this moment so then also individuals don’t bring the performance you expect, not only one player, there are more, including the manager,” he said.

“I always tell my players we attack with 11 and we defend with 11. When one or two are not doing their job, it’s like a pack of cards, so that is not only one or two players.”

Burnley picked up their first point on their return to the Premier League against Nottingham Forest last time out and Ten Hag is a fan of their style of play under Vincent Kompany.

He said: “As always, it’s about how we play against Burnley. There’s no easy games, definitely not against Burnley.

“We know how intense they play football, we know their approach. I like the approach from them, the adventure, high intensity and dynamic in their game, so we have to play our best.”