Following Sunday’s humiliating derby loss to Manchester City, Manchester United players questioned Erik ten Hag’s tactical approach.
The Red Devils had a strong start at Old Trafford but fell down midway through the first half thanks to an Erling Haaland penalty. After the break, however, United’s raucous neighbours went wild, with Haaland scoring a second before teeing up Phil Foden as City cruised to a spectacular 3-0 victory.
The result will only increase the pressure on Ten Hag, who has endured a difficult start to the 2023/24 campaign after winning plenty of plaudits during his maiden year at the helm. But the fact that his players were reportedly unimpressed with his approach against City doesn’t exactly bode well for the Dutchman or United.
According to The Sun, several United players were left ‘dumbfounded’ by Ten Hag’s tactical decisions; including his desire to deploy Victor Lindelof at left-back ahead of Sergio Reguilon and the call to utilise Bruno Fernandes in a wide attacking position rather than centrally, where he thrives.
Despite United’s poor showing in the derby – and the wider uncertainty surrounding the future of the club amid Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid to take control of sporting matters – it appears that Ten Hag’s position is not currently in jeopardy.
That’s because chief executive Richard Arnold, who was in attendance at Sunday’s match, has told observers that the club are still making “good progress” under the stewardship of Ten Hag – despite the fact that the Dutchman oversaw United’s worst start to a season in 37 years.
Arnold echoed similar sentiments on Ten Hag during an extraordinary meeting last month, where he made it clear the Manchester United manager retains the full support of the club hierarchy.
After enduring a difficult afternoon at Old Trafford – where fans also booed his decision to substitute Rasmus Hojlund while United were chasing the game – Ten Hag remained upbeat post-match. He told reporters: “The three games before we won, and the spirit is very good, so I think we are on the way up.
“The start was difficult but we are on the way up. I am sure when we have some injured players coming back our side will be stronger. We have to be patient.”