McTominay insists there is no toxicity at United and players support Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag goes into Manchester United’s make-or-break Champions League assignment against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night with the belief that anything is possible – and a ringing endorsement from Scott McTominay about the environment he has created for the players.

United must beat Bayern under the Old Trafford lights and hope the other Group A tie between Copenhagen and Galatasaray finishes in a draw in order to progress. Given United’s erratic form, it feels as though it could be a tall order for them simply to fulfil their side of the bargain, although Bayern – hammered 5-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga on Saturday – have nothing tangible to play for, having already sewn up top spot in the group.

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There was stirring rhetoric from within the United camp on Monday with McTominay, the team’s leading scorer in all competitions with six goals, insisting that everyone was behind Ten Hag, who came under renewed fire after the dismal 3-0 home defeat against Bournemouth on Saturday. McTominay made his United debut under José Mourinho in 2017 and has also experienced the tenures of Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ralf Rangnick.

“It’s not just a case like with some of the other managers where it’s been a little bit toxic at times,” McTominay said. “The boys are firmly behind the manager. That’s the be all and end all and the way it will remain. We’ve got an amazing coaching staff, as well.”

United were stung after the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle on the Saturday before last by reports that Ten Hag had lost the confidence of some of his players. The club even banned four media outlets from the press conference to preview the 2-1 home win against Chelsea last Wednesday.

McTominay said: “People can get lost in translation and carried away with what the players think and what they say behind closed doors. We just want to do well for the football club and it’s as simple as that.

“It is the players’ responsibility, first and foremost … the players know that. We have had many amazing players over the time and I feel like now we’re at a stage where we have big characters in the dressing room.”

McTominay made it clear that the supporters had every right to expect a hard-running performance from the team as a bare minimum. “In the Premier League, every team is super athletic … you go and play in the Champions League and everyone can run,” he said.

“For us, a lot of the time, we need to match that and more whenever you play for this club. That’s been a clear message for all of us on the pitch that we need to get together sometimes.

“The manager can’t do too much from the sidelines. It needs to come from the players and we know to stick together while we are on the pitch. With the ideas we have, sometimes the way we play has been amazing. It’s about finding that consistency and balance where we can continue to do that on a consistent basis with high energy levels.”

Ten Hag reported that the defender Victor Lindelöf, who sat out the Bournemouth game with an injury, was a doubt for Bayern. The manager said: “I never think of a negative scenario, we think positive. We know what to do – we have to win to stay in Europe. We will prepare the team with that feeling, with that belief we are able to do it. We have shown in the last weeks when we are at our best we can do it.

“We are not consistent, that’s clear. But we have also a very good performance and highs and, if we get it and are in the right spirit, then we are able to do it and beat any opponent.”