Erik ten Hag is reportedly facing a ‘fight’ to retain support from Manchester United players ahead of their integral run of fixtures before Christmas.
Ten Hag – who is the third favourite in the Premier League sack race – is suffering from second-season syndrome after the Red Devils enjoyed a strong campaign in 2022/23. He helped them finish third in the Premier League and win the Carabao Cup last term but they have endured a miserable start to this season.
Having already been knocked out of the Carabao Cup, Man Utd are at serious risk of being dumped out of the Champions League at the group stage.
United’s form in the Premier League had been the only saving grace for Ten Hag but they slumped to a 1-0 defeat against an injury-hit Newcastle United side at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.
In truth, Man Utd should have been on the end of a heavier defeat as they produced a desperately poor performance.
Man Utd are now seventh in the Premier League ahead of their games against Chelsea, Bournemouth, Bayern Munich and Liverpool,
A report from ESPN claims ‘Ten Hag is battling to keep key players onside following the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United’.
It is said that ‘a group within the first-team squad are becoming disillusioned’ following their 10th loss of the season. The report adds.
‘A number of players remain behind Ten Hag and his staff, but there are concerns within the club that the mood inside the dressing room will dip even further unless there is an upturn in form soon. United face crucial games against Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Liverpool in the next two weeks.
‘Among the issues being raised privately among some players are Ten Hag’s intense training sessions since the preseason tour of the United States, and what are considered to be cavalier tactics which have left the team open, particularly during the 3-3 draw against Galatasaray and the defeat at Newcastle.
‘Ten Hag, according to a source, has tried to cool the atmosphere within the squad by backing his players in public despite some poor individual performances.
‘He refused to criticise goalkeeper André Onana for his mistakes against Galatasaray and also offered support to Marcus Rashford following his lacklustre display against Newcastle.
‘According to a source, there is a feeling held by some members of staff that certain players do not respond well to criticism, particularly comments made in public.’