Manchester United have faced a challenging start to the season, both on and off the pitch, leaving fans questioning the direction of the club.
Despite the turbulence, manager Erik ten Hag has managed to hold the dressing room together, though not without some friction.
Ben Jacobs, in his exclusive column has provided some insight into the prevailing mood at Old Trafford. While the situation hasn’t yet led to a breakdown in the relationship between the players and manager Erik ten Hag, it’s clear that tensions are simmering beneath the surface.
One notable point of contention has been Ten Hag’s coaching methods. His rigorous approach appears to have rubbed both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho the wrong way. Reports suggest that Ronaldo felt subjected to “punishment” laps and found training akin to a boot camp under Ten Hag’s guidance. Sancho, on the other hand, has expressed feelings of being scapegoated, which he made clear in a since-deleted social media post.
Despite the challenges, there is a sense of support for Ten Hag from the Manchester United hierarchy. He earned accolades for his handling of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from the club a year ago. However, the taskmaster reputation he has garnered, especially in the eyes of Ronaldo and Sancho, presents a unique challenge for the manager.
“It’s been an uncertain summer at Manchester United. The good news is that Erik ten Hag was delighted with the club’s summer business. Mason Mount was a priority target and Rasmus Hojlund has a big future ahead of him,” Jacobs said.
“But a drawn-out sale process – which remains active even though the Glazers are yet to show their hand – and some notable fallouts and injuries have contributed to an indifferent start to the season.
“The club deny reports there was a dressing-room bust up after the 3-1 loss to Brighton, but what is clear is things are tense with Manchester United 13th in the Premier League. You would expect this. It would almost be more surprising if it wasn’t this way after three league losses in five games.
While reports of a dressing-room bust-up after the loss to Brighton have been denied by the club, the underlying tension is undeniable. Rumors even suggest that Jadon Sancho could be sold in January if the situation does not improve.