Debating Erik ten Hag’s Approach: Manchester United Staff Voices
Ten Hag has taken an autocratic, no-nonsense approach to running Old Trafford since taking over in the summer of 2022. He has not shied away from punishing players for even the smallest transgressions.
Just a few months into his job, Marcus Rashford, who was in fine form, was left out of the starting lineup for a match against Wolverhampton Wanderers because he was late for a team meeting. Ten Hag was not above freezing out five-time Winner of the Ballon d’Or Ronaldo.
More recently, Jadon Sancho has been left out of the first team lineup for more than two and a half months because of his public fallout with Ten Hag, who left him out of the squad to play Arsenal because of what was thought to be subpar training performances.
Sancho, a £73 million signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2021, was told he would not be reintegrated unless he apologised to his boss after publicly disputing Ten Hag’s version of events. Since then, not much has been heard about the Englishman before his anticipated departure in January.
Additionally, Ten Hag made the audacious choice to sit World Cup winner Raphael Varane in favour of Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, and Victor Lindelof as his primary defensive choices.
This season, Man United sits sixth in the Premier League and is five points outside of the Champions League spots. The former Ajax manager’s harsh selection decisions have not always paid off on the pitch.
Furthermore, the Red Devils are at the bottom of their continental section after losing three of their first four Champions League Group A matches and giving up a total of 11 goals.
Fans and commentators have been critical of Ten Hag’s strict values, and a recent article suggested that several Man United players attributed their subpar start to the season to being overworked during the preseason.
There is now a division in the dressing room between those who support Ten Hag’s approach and those who do not, according to a report from the Daily Mail about staff members raising doubts about his techniques.
According to the newspaper, the coaches feel that taking a more measured approach would be beneficial because they want to bring the team together before a crucial stretch of Christmas games.
There were also conflicting feelings behind the Carrington walls following Sancho’s expulsion from the first squad, and Varane and Ten Hag’s friendship is now supposedly nonexistent.
Along with Sancho, the former Real Madrid player is predicted to leave the Red Devils in the early months of 2024. Saudi Arabian teams and Bayern Munich are reportedly keeping an eye on the situation.
When Man United plays Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, it will be the Toffees’ first game since losing 10 points for violating the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability regulations. Varane is probably going to be relegated to the bench once more.