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Erik ten Hag insists he has “no issues” with his Manchester United players, saying he always listens and “gives them opportunities” to speak openly about their concerns.
United’s manager has come under criticism following his side’s poor performance against Newcastle United, where they lost 1-0 at St James’ Park, with several reports claiming that players within Ten Hag’s squad were starting to lose confidence in his coaching methods.
In response to the ongoing speculation, United took the step of barring several journalists from attending his pre-match press conference ahead of their upcoming Premier League clash against Chelsea. United insisted the action was “not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise”.
Ten Hag said: “They (the media) should come to us first and not go around our back printing articles, that is not the right thing. I think we have another relationship, they can, they should come to us beforehand, we have a normal and professional discussion and debate about it.
“Of course there are always in every team players who are not playing or less playing who are less happy, that is not different to normal, in some circumstances you need that, they have to wait for their chance and that can come. But no, there are no issues.
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“I listen always to my players and I give them always opportunities to tell, if the players have a different opinion of course I will listen. 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. You see that we are really improving. You see that goal? Do you think we can make the goal we did against Everton if the players don’t embrace it? What do you think?
“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 coming in and you see the potential how they can contribute to a very successful Manchester United for the future.”
United forward Marcus Rashford, meanwhile, was criticised following his individual display against Newcastle last Saturday.
The 26-year-old has struggled for form this season, netting only twice in 18 appearances across all competitions.
Ten Hag was asked about Rashford but moved to conclude that the majority of his squad are annoyed by United’s inconsistent form.
“Everyone is disappointed, if you have the result in Galatasaray, then the performance and result in Newcastle,” he added. “But if you go to Newcastle we are not the only team who is losing there, I think home record they win all the games except for Liverpool where they were leading but the opponent was downsized to ten, then there was a turnaround, apart from that everyone is losing there.
“But that doesn’t say, we want to win there and we did everything in our power but definitely our performance wasn’t good enough.”
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(Photo: James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)