Manchester United squad unimpressed by Erik ten Hag’s public comments about Casemiro
Is the Dutchman losing the dressing room?
The pressure is starting to heat up on the Dutch coach after heavy back-to-back home defeats against Manchester City and Newcastle, with the side having already suffered eight losses this season in all competitions.
Still, there appears to be a significant amount of unrest at Carrington at the moment, with Ten Hag’s treatment of Jadon Sancho and Harry Maguire prompting some members of the squad to question his decisions and methods.
While both players are very clearly on the fringes of Ten Hag’s first-team plans, he has also managed to create friction with two regulars.
According to The Athletic, recent comments he made about his decision to substitute Casemiro against Brentford ‘did not go down well’ with the squad.
The Brazilian was hooked at half-time as United came from a goal down to win 2-1 at the start of last month and Ten Hag was rather frank when asked about his tactical change after the game.
‘I wanted more football,’ said the Dutchman when asked why he had hauled off Casemiro so early in the contest. ‘One who brings passing, distribution, link-up play. So I thought to bring [on] Christian Eriksen for Case.’
Casemiro unquestionably had a below-par first half against Brentford, but he is one of United’s most senior players and well-liked in the dressing room.
Ten Hag’s decision to speak so bluntly about the five-time Champions League winner was not received well by other players in the squad and there is a sense that his to-the-point, straight-talking approach might be beginning to grate.
That intensity he brings, which was seen as a positive by the squad last season as they craved a more disciplined figure at the head of the club, is now ‘being viewed as a problem’ and there is a fear that the softer touch that is needed during this difficult period will not be forthcoming.
Another decision which is said to have ‘raised eyebrows’ among the players was the selection of Jonny Evans ahead of Raphael Varane for the Manchester derby last weekend.
United are generally a far more solid defensive unit when the former Real Madrid star is in the back-line, but Ten Hag cited ‘tactical reasons’ for leaving him out in favour of the 35-year-old Evans.
City went on to net three goals in a handsome victory at Old Trafford and, perhaps, it could have been even more, and there is a growing feeling that Ten Hag is getting quite a few of these decisions – in terms of selections and tactics – wrong.
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