Ten Hag never gives up on players, but he has openly taken issue with striker Martial

Ten Hag never gives up on players, but he has openly taken issue with striker Martial

Erik Ten Hag is always protective of his players, so when Manchester United striker Anthony Martial responded to his coach’s instructions on Saturday with sweeping arm movements, there wasn’t much to expect. At least, that’s how Ten Hag responded to the press after the losing match against Newcastle United (0-1). Something like this happens in the heat of battle, Ten Hag said. “From both sides.”

But the difference between the player and the coach in words and gestures during the match does not give an image of a team where everything is fine and peaceful. And certainly no team is heading towards multiple trophies without any problems. United also lost without a chance to Newcastle against a well-organised opponent.

Manchester United currently seem to be busy with themselves. The atmosphere within the team is difficult. What didn’t help on Saturday, for example, was that Marcus Rashford didn’t take the game entirely seriously. Ten Hag changed his star player after the hour mark, as he was clearly not satisfied with Rashford’s effort. Ten Hag was then asked about the incident. But the coach would have discussed this with the player himself, not playing through the media.

A club where it’s never quiet

Manchester United will remain the club where things can’t be quiet again this year, or so it seems. Last summer, Ten Hag finally seemed to be the man to calm the internal storm. But after a poor start to the season, he was also immediately doubtful. In November, things seemed to be moving somewhat in the right direction. Until last week.

A number of Premier League victories were forgotten last week when goalkeeper Andre Onana made two errors in the Champions League last week, allowing Manchester United to miss out on victory (3-3 against Galatasaray). It is no coincidence that the most ridiculous message on social media on Saturday was a text message on the club’s official channel itself, which stated in large letters that Onana had blocked an important shot. British fans quickly saw his sense of humor.

Due to Saturday’s defeat, Manchester United now sits in seventh place, nine points behind leaders Arsenal, and is on a tough schedule against Chelsea and Liverpool, among others. There is also the risk of being eliminated in the Champions League.

There is no clarity at the management level regarding a potential acquisition involving billions of pounds. The club’s supporters have been angry with the current owners, the American Glazer family, for years. Despite the acquisition, they are not yet ready to give their approval. It’s an irritation that lurks in the background.

But, as Ten Hag has always said in recent weeks, and also on Saturday after the defeat: “We will get through this.”

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