Another Manchester United media ban incoming? Ten Hag ‘risks wrath’ of mostly ‘supportive’ players

Editor F365
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag issues tactical instructions
Erik ten Hag might not be too impressed with the Daily Mirror again

One outlet listened to the warning Erik ten Hag issued but another seems intent on baiting yet more media bans from an “unhappy” Manchester United camp.


Passive aggression of the day
‘United declined to comment’ – the final paragraph of a Matt Hughes exclusive in the Daily Mail on Erik ten Hag ‘refusing to bow to demands from senior Manchester United players for more days off and advanced notice of their training schedule’.

Watch and learn, Luckhurst.


Own goals and wraths
Manchester United, gripped by crisis though they clearly are, sit ahead of much-vaunted Newcastle, level on points with oft-praised Spurs and within a win of reigning European and English champions Manchester City in the Premier League table.

Things are obviously not all well at Old Trafford, but nor are they quite as disastrous as some continue trying to make out.

Apropos of nothing, here is the story atop the Daily Mirror website at peak traffic time on Friday:

‘Ten Hag risks wrath of unhappy Man Utd stars by refusing training ground requests – with first-team stars complaining about manager’s methods at Carrington HQ’

It’s a rehash of that Hughes exclusive in the Mailno problems there whatsoever, it’s fair game – but already there is plenty of artistic licence deployed by an outlet desperate to stick to their official line of mutiny at Manchester United. Ten Hag apparently ‘risks wrath of unhappy Man Utd stars’, even though the story they’re quoting explicitly states that ‘the vast majority of the squad are supportive of the manager’.

Nathan Ridley does at least make reference to that, writing that not every member of the squad’s leadership group have gone to Ten Hag with these complaints, with ‘some understood to be fully supportive of Ten Hag and his methods’.

Sadly, ‘some’ is very much not a synonym of ‘the vast majority’, however much you’d like to pretend there is a massive split in the dressing room. Most of those players are behind Ten Hag and the response in the Chelsea victory pretty much proved it:

‘Their backing comes at a crucial time, too, as United are continuing to produce unconvincing performances and questions still loom over Ten Hag’s position as manager. Despite getting back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday, the Red Devils were fortunate not concede more goals after a series of defensive lapses.’

Speaking of timing, how strange to write that Manchester United ‘are continuing to produce unconvincing performances’ so soon after they produced their most convincing performance of the season against Chelsea. ‘Fortunate’ as they might have been not to have conceded more in that game, they also should have won by a far larger margin: they had 28 shots to Chelsea’s 13.

The article does at least end with Ten Hag’s quotes about being in a “journey” and a “process” and “going in the right direction”. which is progress in terms of the Mirror seeking some vague right of reply. But they do not particularly sound like the words of a man risking any sort of wrath.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is coming under fire


Karius through
Actual football took place on Wednesday night, with Spurs doing their usual shtick against West Ham and Everton beating Newcastle.

The eagle-eyed among you might notice that a few teams are missing from that list, but one is always most conspicuous by its absence: Liverpool.

How does the Liverpool Echo get around this slight issue? With this headline:

‘What former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius did as Newcastle players clash with Everton at final whistle’

It does not fill Mediawatch with confidence that the picture chosen is of Jordan Pickford being Jordan Pickford and winding everyone up, rather than former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius – to give him his full name – doing anything. And no-one else reporting on the brawl has made even a passing mention of former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, which is very weird considering his obviously newsworthy contribution to the situation.

But the Echo thankfully clear things up with their one mention of former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, who ‘appeared to have some sort of coming together with James Tarkowski’. And this is gleaned from the briefest of moments in which Tarkowski brushes off Jason Tindall with Karius in the near vicinity, the German then just casually walking off as Tarkowski and Tindall continue their aggressive conversation.

It is not even clear whether Tarkowski’s anger was aimed at Karius, who strolls away from the scene very much like a man who has not actually just had ‘some sort of coming together’ at all.

But Karius did used to play for Liverpool, who this is obviously all about at the end of this and every day.


Top of the MailOnline is this beauty:

‘Angry fans claim that Ian Maatsen’s ‘career at Chelsea is OVER’ after full-back commented on Sofyan Amrabat’s Instagram post after Man United’s 2-1 victory over the Blues – when he was snubbed as a substitute’

Well one Twitter account said: ‘Safe to say Ian Maatsen’s career at Chelsea is now over.’ One. Not plural. So immediately ‘angry fans claim’ becomes ‘angry fan claims’ in what is apparently the single biggest story in football right now.

And that is leaving aside whether Chelsea really will sell Ian Maatsen because his Instagram account ‘initially commented a ‘fire emoji’ and a ‘saluting emoji” under a post by Sofyan Amrabat before deleting it. It does seem like an entirely understandable reaction to such unforgivable insolence.


Swap shop
It is that time of year again: when the Daily Mirror website start recycling their very favourite misleading headline trope.

Suffice to say that ‘Mikel Arteta considering January swap transfer with Thomas Partey being offloaded’ is absolute nonsense. Mainly because Arsenal signing Joao Palhinha from Fulham and funding that move by selling Thomas Partey to a club that isn’t Fulham would not constitute a ‘January swap transfer’.


Dennis the menace
‘Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp takes huge step towards emotional return to Gunners after ending six-year football exile,’ is quite the headline from The Sun website, who give nothing away in their opening paragraph:

‘DENNIS BERGKAMP has opened the door to an emotional return to Arsenal – after declaring his aim to end a six-year exile from football.’

After some bluster, they eventually get to the point of this ‘huge step’ Bergkamp has taken towards working at Arsenal.

The slight problem is that he does not mention or even vaguely allude to Arsenal once when outlining his desire “to get back into football once more”.

Bergkamp does talk about pursuing some sort of position “in between the youth squad and the first team” without naming any clubs; the only ‘huge step’ involved is The Sun going straight to how ‘that could yet lead to a new role for the former striker at the Emirates, which boasts a statue in his honour.’

And it ‘could’. But it feels important to make it distinctly clear that you are suggesting that rather than Bergkamp.