A number of Manchester United players are starting to grow weary of Erik ten Hag’s criticism as they struggle to arrest their dismal form.
United have lost four of their last five games and Teg Hag lamented the “easy giveaway” goals that Bayern Munich scored in their 4-3 Champions League group stage triumph.
Dressing room sources have told the Manchester Evening News that some players believe Ten Hag has favourites in the squad who he is unprepared to single out for criticism, while they feel others are routinely rounded on by the United manager.
Although Ten Hag has avoided publicly naming players who have erred, he has often highlighted the players’ failure to “follow the rules” after defeats.
Certain United players also feel they have been put in an invidious position to carry out Ten Hag’s tactical instructions as there is a feeling in the squad that his approach has been compromised by the indefinite absence of Antony.
Antony is Ten Hag’s most expensive signing at £85.51million but he is trying to clear his name amid allegations of domestic abuse. The Brazilian was the only senior left-footed right winger in the United squad before it was mutually agreed he should not be considered for selection until further notice.
Ten Hag had expected to have Mason Greenwood, another left-footed forward, in his squad this season but United reneged on their plans to reintegrate him into the squad amid a backlash from supporters.
Mason Mount, who excelled off the right for Chelsea, could now occupy Antony’s role even though he was recruited as a central midfielder for £60m in the summer.
After the Bayern loss, Ten Hag criticised the ease with which Leroy Sane bypassed Marcus Rashford before scoring the opening goal and how Jamal Musiala burst into the United area to tee up Serge Gnabry for Bayern’s second four minutes later.
“You have to look in the mirror because the goals were easy giveaways,” Ten Hag said. “We were in the first 25 minutes better in the game than Munich and then that goal, it was so easy and it was not only Andre.
“If you see how easy Sane is going through and that has to do with determination, you don’t let players through so easy. That is the point – we have to cross the line as an individual and as a team to win games because it started there.
“That’s what I mean, you have to suffer, sacrifice in situations, to give everything and to stop that and only when we get that in are we going to win games.
“The way Sane came through can’t be. And the second goal; it’s almost similar over the other side. How easy players come through our box and to finish, it can’t be.”