Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag explains his ‘concern’ in passionate rant amid sack rumours | Football | Sport

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has passionately defended his work at Old Trafford by pointing out that he has had a fully fit squad for just one game during his two years in charge. Ten Hag has been strongly linked with an exit as minority shareholders INEOS prepare for a summer overhaul.

United, who face Coventry in the FA Cup on Sunday, could drop to eighth in the Premier League if West Ham beat Crystal Palace on Sunday. Twelve defeats have punctuated a disappointing season for the Red Devils, who were dumped out of the Champions League after finishing bottom of their group.

INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has yet to offer his backing to Ten Hag in public, may choose to sack him at the end of the season, with the FA Cup the club’s only chance of silverware. But the Dutchman insists he does not read reports linking him with a departure and argues that he has not had a fair crack at the job with injuries dismantling his squad.

Ten Hag believes the only time he has had a fully fit quota came when United defeated Manchester City in January 2023. Bruno Fernandes scored the winner in the 2-1 triumph despite Marcus Rashford appearing to interfere in play from an offside position.

“I don’t put any energy into whether I am judged fairly or not. I know what we are doing here and I know why I am here – to bring trophies and also to create economic value. So we are working on that,” Ten Hag said.

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“In a process, you have setbacks and I look at that and can see it realistically. There is no nuance. I see the comments, I can’t bother about it. I can’t get into the emotions of that.

“I see it realistically and I am only focusing on my team, on how to improve my team, to improve individuals. That is why I am here.

“No, I don’t have any concern. What concerns me is that in 18 months I have never had my favourite team on the pitch once because players were injured – that concerns me.

“In fact there was only one time, against City at home last season. That is the only time I had a full squad to pick my full team.”

“In all the other games, there was an injury aspect that we have had to deal with. That’s normal in football, but not as many as we have had.

“And I know that when we’ve had so many injuries in crucial key positions, you can’t deliver the results you want to bring. That’s okay, but that’s my truth. Others can have different truths but I can’t put any energy into that.”

Coventry boss Mark Robins scored the FA Cup third round goal that bought Sir Alex Ferguson time to turn round his fortunes around in 1990 – with United going on to win the competition that year to kickstart the Scot’s reign. Ten Hag will hope a similar hero will emerge on Sunday.

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