Man Utd: Shearer, Lineker defend uneasy interview with Ten Hag over ‘disastrous’ and ’embarrassing’ season

Joe Williams
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag and Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer was involved in a tense exchange with Erik ten Hag on Saturday.

Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker have defended their tense BBC interview with Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag during their coverage of the FA Cup final on Saturday.

The Dutchman has come under pressure this season with a report before the final at Wembley claiming he would be sacked no matter what the outcome.

That is because Man Utd have struggled to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League and were knocked out of Europe before Christmas by finishing bottom of their Champions League group.

Their unexpected 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Man City in the FA Cup on Saturday could have given Ten Hag some hope of keeping his job this summer.

One report claimed on Monday that support is growing to keep Ten Hag among some of the Man Utd hierarchy but that ‘the Dutch coach is in real danger of being sacked in a final review this week’.

Ten Hag was in for some robust questioning from Shearer and Lineker on the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup final with some Man Utd fans taking “umbrage” with their line of questioning.

Shearer said to Ten Hag on the touchline at Wembley: “You have a team out there who have shown a great attitude, great ability, who have won every single tackle. That hasn’t always been the case, though, has it?”

There was also praise for their line of questioning and, responding to the criticism, Shearer and Lineker said on The Rest is Football Podcast: “People took a bit of umbrage to our questioning and your answer to Erik ten Hag.

“He came over and he didn’t seem very happy right from the start. I think he also had a pop at Roy Keane, so he obviously had something in his mind when he came over.

“I asked the question, ‘Do you think you’ve been unfairly treated by pundits, and even us?’ Obviously, it’s our job to be critical on occasion, we have to say what we think. And then he replied saying ‘definitely’, and then you challenged him didn’t you?”

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Shearer responded: “Yeah. He’s entitled to have a pop back because he’s been criticised at times and I think rightly so, because his team have been miles off it. They’ve been poor.

“They’ve had a disastrous season in terms of the league. I don’t think any Man Utd fan would argue that. To finish eighth, to finish with the number of goals they’ve conceded, shots against, it’s embarrassing.

“So for all of those things we’ve had to criticise them this season. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be doing our job. But he’s entitled to have the hump with people who he feels are being unfair, but I felt I was well within my rights [to say what I said].”