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Erik ten Hag hopes Manchester United players are angry

Erik ten Hag hopes Manchester United players are angry

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has stated he hopes his players are angry after their day off was cancelled last Sunday.

The Red Devils lost 4-0 to Brentford on August 13, and in response, Ten Hag informed his players they should attend extra training the following day on what was supposed to be their time off.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Monday’s meeting with Liverpool, the Dutchman said: “I hope they are angry, but angry with themselves, angry with each other that they didn’t take responsibility.

“When I say it’s not acceptable, you can’t deliver that for yourself, for the team and for all the fans of Man United. I took the decision on Saturday during the game, when I saw the performance.

“That is not the standard for Man United — and it’s not my standard. We had to change that. I had to face the players, remind them that we don’t accept this.

“Tell them the attitude is not right. It’s your obligation to fight for the team and give 100 per cent.”

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag on July 31, 2022© Reuters

Following consecutive defeats, Ten Hag is already under pressure, but the United boss believes he is the right man for the job.

He stated: “I’m not here for myself — I’m here for the club and to restore the club. I knew before coming that this is a challenge and I wanted this challenge.

“I knew before it was going to be hard but I wanted that because in my career everywhere I started, it was difficult. But I got it done and I’m convinced that I will get it done here as well.

“Therefore, I just choose this project. I know it’s a process and I will stay consistent to the philosophy and to the plan we had.

“I’ll keep confidence in the cooperation I have in the players and also the team around, the coaches and the directors.”

“Don’t get me wrong, when I talk about the players, and I want to emphasise that, I’m in the same boat as well. When we are not in the right attitude, I’m not either. We win together, we lose together.”

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag pictured on July 11, 2022© Reuters

The 52-year-old added United need leaders in the dressing room: “When the attitude is no good from the team, often the leaders are not there as they are the ones who give the example. That is a point that we have to work on here.

“I work always with a group of leaders, not one in particular. I spoke with the leaders at United about this issue.

“It doesn’t have to be senior players but we have a core group who must be an example and take responsibility.”

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes reacts on August 13, 2022© Reuters

Although United have struggled in their opening two league games, they fared well in pre-season, winning three matches, drawing twice and losing once.

Responding to the change of fortunes, Ten Hag said: “Pre-season we did quite well — but the first two league games were not good enough, that’s clear.

“This is the first time since June 27 I was not happy and not satisfied and I told them. We are now in a process, sometimes you have a drop and you tell them, you face them, and say ‘That’s unacceptable’.

“It’s a signal, we don’t have to make it bigger. I think it’s now a really big story — but that’s not necessary because, again, it’s the first occasion it happened.

“You see the potential of this United team in pre-season, so now we have to work together to get the good performances back on the pitch.”

Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez pictured on August 13, 2022© Reuters

With United low on confidence, there is a belief that they are more fearful of playing at Old Trafford than their opponents, but Ten Hag was defiant in his response.

“It’s not necessary as we have good players and a good team if they do what they have to do. In football, it’s not always working as planned because you have to face an opponent. But if you work hard and stick to the plan, the result will come.”

The former Ajax head coach also hit back at criticism of summer signing Lisandro Martinez, who was withdrawn at half time against Brentford.

“He won his aerial duels, his challenges, he was good in the passing but he also made mistakes — as the whole team did. I could have swapped 11 players.”

Ten Hag will aim to secure his first competitive victory as United boss when his side play host to Liverpool on Monday evening.

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