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Erik ten Hag: Man Utd manager dismisses reports of dressing room unrest after Newcastle defeat

Several Manchester United players are understood to have concerns over Erik ten Hag's leadership; follow Man Utd vs Chelsea on Sky Sports' digital platforms on Wednesday; kick-off 8.15pm; watch free highlights shortly after full-time

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has played down talk of disharmony in the squad

Erik ten Hag has dismissed reports that some Manchester United players have lost faith in his management.

It was reported on Monday that a number of United players have become disenchanted with the Dutchman, with his playing style and treatment of Jadon Sancho seen as issues.

In the wake of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Newcastle, one source claimed that 50 per cent of the dressing room has turned against Ten Hag, but the manager pointed to the draw away to Galatasaray and win at Everton last month as evidence that those reports are untrue.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of the Premier League clash between Newcastle and Manchester United

Asked whether there is disorder among his squad, Ten Hag - who was speaking ahead of Wednesday's Premier League game at home to Chelsea - said: "Not in the dressing room. Of course there are a lot of rumours but it is not that we get distracted by it.

"We are on a journey. We know we are in transition but we are in the right direction.

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"We construct a team, develop it, the team is progressing, young players are coming in and you see the potential of how they can contribute to a successful Manchester United team for the future."

Ten Hag added: "We had a week or two of good performances and one bad performance. The team is in a good direction. We played very good football, scored very good goals against Galatasaray and Everton.

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"Against Newcastle, we didn't play great. We're not happy with that performance but we stayed in the game and had two good opportunities to get a point.

"With a little bit more determination we could have taken something."

Pressed on whether he still has the backing of his players, Ten Hag insisted: "Yes, I am sure."

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The manager then pointed to several tight wins earlier in the season, saying: "You can see for instance the comeback against Brentford, the Burnley game, the Fulham game.

"Every time the team is there, showed great character, great determination, resilience, so we are together.

"You can't play such great football as we did recently without unity."

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'Players want to play this way'

Other issues that Ten Hag faces are reports that several of United's squad feel he is not receptive to their feedback and that he is pushing them too hard in training.

But he again refuted those claims, saying: "No. Of course there are always in every team players who are not playing who are not as happy.

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"You have to wait for the chance and that can come, but there are no issues.

"I listen always to my players and I give them always opportunities. If the players have a different opinion of course I will listen.

"Maybe one or two but the majority 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.

"We are really improving. We can't make the goal we did against Everton if the players don't embrace it."

Have Man Utd been as good as Ten Hag claims?

  • Man Utd have not won a Premier League away game against a team starting the day in the top eight since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager, drawing three and losing 10 of their last 13 such games
  • Man Utd have lost six of their 14 Premier League matches this season - more than any other side in the top half
  • Only five sides have scored fewer than Man Utd's 16 Premier League goals, although they do have the fifth-best defensive record
  • Man Utd are bottom of their Champions League group and must beat Bayern Munich on Tuesday December 12 to stand any chance of playing European football after Christmas

'Players are not robots'

Following the defeat at Newcastle, Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher both criticised the performance of Marcus Rashford, who did not feature in the draw against Galatasaray three days earlier.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Carragher called Rahsford's display "unacceptable", while Keane, a former United captain, said supporters were unhappy with the academy graduate because "they don't see a player running".

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But Ten Hag defended the performance of Rashford and his team-mates at St James' Park, saying: "We are not robots.

"If you play three games in six days, tough games, by the end the fatigue can be an issue. Never an excuse but it is there.

"Against Galatasaray, against Everton we played very good.

"Against Newcastle we were not happy with our performance. We are the first to say, the players are the first. They are so self-critical."

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