Exclusive: Meulensteen responds to Carragher’s damning Man Utd verdict after Ten Hag’s ‘worrying comment’

Joe Williams
Ex-Man Utd assistant Rene Meulensteen
Rene Meulensteen has responded to comments from Jamie Carragher about Man Utd.

Former Man Utd assistant manager Rene Meulensteen has responded to Jamie Carragher’s incendiary claims around Erik ten Hag’s coaching methods.

Ex-Liverpool defender Carragher suggested Man Utd are the ‘worst coached team in the Premier League’ as he highlighted the tactical flaws in Ten Hag’s set-up after their 4-0 defeat against Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Now Meulensteen, who was Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant manager at Man Utd between 2007 and 2013, has offered up a damning verdict on Ten Hag, as he suggested the lack of progression of the players is an indictment of the work done by his fellow Dutchman during his two-year reign at Old Trafford.

“Your job as a coach is to work with the players and when I was at United, Sir Alex Ferguson could not have been more clear about how he wanted Manchester United to play,” said Meulensteen, speaking exclusively to Football365 at a William Hill Vegas event.

“He explained that to me on three pages of a flip chart. That was my navigation system and I had to build an identity around that.

“So I can’t understand how there is a hole in the Manchester United midfield the size of Vesuvius and it has been there all season.

“You have players in there that have no legs, no energy. The lines from front to back are far too disconnected and this was a problem we could all see months ago, but it still exists. I don’t understand why.

“Every team that plays against United knows this is a massive weakness and they capitalise on it.

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“That’s why Jamie Carragher made his comment that this may be one of the worst coached teams he has ever seen. He has a point.

“What are they doing in training? I always remember Sir Alex saying to me that whatever we do in training will manifest itself in the match, good and bad habits. That includes work ethic and team spirit.

“He always said think forward, look forward, play forward. He hated it when players passed it back.

“It was very clear whatever every player needed to do. Who would run forward, who would cover, who was breaking the lines… everyone knew what they were expected to do.

“If you look back to those times, it was everything he wrote down on that flip chart and we put it onto the pitch.

“What is the plan for United now? I’m not sure we know.”

Has Erik ten Hag been handicapped by some of his Man Utd players?

Meulensteen believes Ten Hag has been handicapped by players who are ‘not good enough to play for Manchester United’, but he cannot understand why basic structure of the team has not been addressed.

“The players are the ones that step over the line and have to perform and if they don’t want to put one foot in front of the other, then you have a problem,” he added.

“The worrying comment from Ten Hag after the Crystal Palace game was his claim that they have clear rules and a clear structure on how to defend.

“So my next question is, well, why are the players not doing it?”

United officials have insisted they are not preparing to sack Ten Hag ahead of the final three games of the season or the FA Cup final against Manchester City, but his mandate to continue in his job beyond those matches appears to have expired.