12 May 2024

Erik ten Hag insists Man Utd’s critics ‘don’t have any knowledge about football’

12 May 2024

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has questioned the knowledge and understanding of impatient onlookers calling for him to be sacked.

Things have gone off track since a promising first season in charge, which saw the Red Devils end their six-year wait for silverware by lifting the Carabao Cup before finishing third in the Premier League and FA Cup runners-up.

An eye-watering injury list offers mitigation this term, but Ten Hag’s position has come under increasing scrutiny during what could end up being United’s worst ever Premier League season.

Monday’s 4-0 loss at Crystal Palace was the nadir and the under-fire Dutchman was delighted by the way the travelling support stuck with the injury-hit team in that Selhurst Park shellacking.

United now return to Old Trafford for the first time since boos greeted the end of the 1-1 draw against embattled Burnley, with title-chasing Arsenal the visitors – a side benefiting from sticking with Mikel Arteta during rocky times.

“I think the fans have the patience – you’ve seen it on Monday,” Ten Hag said.

“But when I see some comments, they don’t. And either they don’t have any knowledge about football, or they don’t have any knowledge about managing a football team. It’s possible, or they just are up to it.

“But I think there are many people that see the problems and they are patient.”

Ten Hag is confident “common sense” will prevail as the club’s decision-makers consider his future, brushing aside talk that he could be sacked even if United won the FA Cup – as happened to compatriot Louis van Gaal in 2016.

I think the fans have the patience - you’ve seen it on Monday. But when I see some comments, they don’t. And either they don’t have any knowledge about football, or they don't have any knowledge about managing a football team

The 54-year-old has come out fighting in the media over recent weeks, but the fact his absentee-ravaged side lacked anything like that mentality on Monday only increased the spotlight on him.

“I see the problems we have faced, all the injuries, and in almost every game they fought,” Ten Hag said. “There was great team spirit.

“Not on Monday, that is why I was so disappointed. Monday I was really disappointed and also the players were disappointed with themselves. There was collectively failure.

“But all the other games we fought with each other, had good team spirit, so, no, I can’t have any doubt about this.”

The spirit might be there, but United will need more than that if they are to beat Arsenal before hosting Newcastle and bringing the curtain down on their league campaign at Brighton.

The FA Cup final against Manchester City on May 25 follows – a repeat of last year’s showpiece and a chance to kickstart things at a club facing big changes under ambitious Ineos.

“This is a massive club and you first know when you are in, and the challenges you have to face,” Ten Hag added.

“But I wanted to go onto this challenge, and I haven’t had one second that I regret making that decision, so I am really happy to be here. I have never regretted being here.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox