Man Utd: Suggestion players are ‘undermining’ Ten Hag in meetings as Ajax ‘wish for his return’

Joe Williams
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag looks dejected during a Premier League match.

A report has claimed that ‘any attempts by players to undermine’ Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag during meetings with Sir Dave Brailsford have been ‘cut short’.

The Red Devils had a successful first season under Ten Hag with the Dutchman guiding his side to an FA Cup final, Carabao Cup glory and a top-four finish in the Premier League.

A number of Man Utd players speak candidly with Brailsford in his office

However, this season has not gone to plan with Man Utd finishing bottom of their Champions League group to crash out of Europe, while the sixth-placed Red Devils are struggling for consistency in the Premier League.

Man Utd allowed Brentford over 30 shots against them in a disappointing 1-1 draw against the Bees on Saturday, while they threw away a 3-2 lead versus Chelsea on Thursday night with two second-half injury time goals from Cole Palmer giving the Blues a 4-3 win.

The Athletic journalist Laurie Whitwell brought news that Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS are reluctant to sack Ten Hag if they can help it.

READ MORE: How can Ratcliffe and Manchester United trust a process Erik ten Hag has not proven actually exists?

And Whitwell has explained that Ratcliffe’s chief sporting adviser Sir Dave Brailsford is using an ‘open-door policy for staff and players’ to ‘fully understand the United landscape’.

‘Brailsford has an open-door policy for staff and players to discuss their thoughts on improving the environment at the club. Several members of Ten Hag’s squad have taken up the opportunity to speak candidly with Brailsford in his office.

‘As might be expected given the turbulence of this campaign, there has been criticism amid the feedback, but sources close to the first team, speaking anonymously to protect relationships, insist any attempts by players to undermine Ten Hag are cut short. The primary purpose of the meetings is for Brailsford to fully understand the United landscape and, if necessary, give guidance on the INEOS plans or impart the kind of psychological gee-up he used to give to cyclists on the British Olympic team or at Team Sky.’

Erik ten Hag to return to Ajax?

Although Whitwell acknowledges that the Dutchman wants to stay at Man Utd, the respected journalist adds that certain ‘figures at Ajax wish for Ten Hag’s return’.

‘It is, however, a two-way street, and Ten Hag is expected to have options himself come the close of the season. Several clubs in Europe view Ten Hag’s first season as an overachievement given what he inherited, and this campaign as under-par, translating to an overall good job. Figures at Ajax wish for Ten Hag’s return, but it is unclear if that remains the case following the suspension of chief executive Alex Kroes.

‘There will also be vacancies at Bayern Munich and Barcelona, and Ten Hag could come under discussion. He coached Bayern Munich II and several Dutch managers have occupied the dugout at the Nou Camp.

‘Ten Hag will also weigh up whether he can build the kind of squad necessary to really challenge City, Liverpool and Arsenal.’