EPL

Barnes warns Ten Hag transfers won't solve United's main issue

By Sports Desk June 22, 2022

England legend John Barnes has warned Manchester United that their issues stem deeper than the squad at their disposal, as the club enters the Erik Ten Hag era.

United axed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer midway through last season and drafted in Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis until the end of the 2021-22 season – which ended with disappointment as the club failed to secure a top-four finish and Champions League football.

Ten Hag was lured to Old Trafford from Ajax to take the club into a new direction, becoming the fifth permanent managerial appointment at United since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

The arrival of the Dutchman comes amid further changes in the United hierarchy, with Ed Woodward departing and Richard Arnold coming in as chief executive officer.

While fans are hoping for new signings, having seen rivals Manchester City land Erling Haaland and Liverpool capture Darwin Nunez, Barnes isn't convinced that additions will solve their problems.

"I don't know whether other players coming in is going to be better because Man United have spent money and brought players in and it hasn't worked," he told Stats Perform.

"So, it's not a question of just buying players in and automatically it's going to work because you know, everybody has their problems, adjusting when a new manager comes in when new players coming in. 

"What I do know is they've spent money and they've had players. So, I don't know anything about the institution as to how an institution should be run. But what I do know is they’ve got good players. 

"If they have good players and they're not performing, I don't think you can blame the hierarchy, blame the owners for them not playing well on the pitch. 

"Because what they have on the pitch, the players they have on the pitch, the money they've spent, they shouldn't be where they are. And they shouldn't be in the turmoil that they are. 

"I think it's too easy to blame that rather than looking at the players who should take responsibility for performances."

Barnes also made it clear that Ten Hag needs to establish himself as more powerful than the players in the United squad, as Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel have done.

"Once you don't have a manager who you give the power to make decisions, you will then keep changing the manager and then the players get very complacent. Because they know they're not going to get blamed," he explained.

"I can think of the three clubs in England who don't blame the manager and who the manager is more powerful than the players, Klopp, Guardiola, Tuchel, there's not one player at those clubs who could undermine the manager.

"I suppose you could put Conte and now Arteta in that position after the decision with Aubameyang where he [Arteta] won that battle, and that has to happen at any football club to be successful.

"Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened at United for the last four or five managers. So that for me is the issue, not the manager."

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    Otto Addo insists Ghana took no comfort from seeing rivals Uruguay join them in making an early exit from the World Cup after Friday's dramatic Group H finale.

    Ghana and Uruguay both harboured hopes of reaching the last 16 ahead of Friday's game, which represented the teams' first meeting since La Celeste claimed a famous World Cup quarter-final win in 2010, when Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty after Luis Suarez saw red for a goal-line handball.

    Giorgian de Arrascaeta's brace helped Uruguay to a 2-0 victory, but South Korea's last-gasp 2-1 win over Portugal in the group's other game ensured Paulo Bento's team clinched second place.

    After the match, Daniel Amartey suggested to reporters that Ghana became determined to take Uruguay out of the tournament with them once South Korea went ahead. 

    Addo, however, insisted any animosity between the teams did not influence Ghana's approach, saying: "I don't know who said it, but nobody told them what the [South Korea] score was.

    "I don't know how they would know. For us, it was about trying to score. As a coach for more than 12 years, I have had games where we led 3-0 and lost 4-3. Anything can happen. 

    "I don't think anyone was thinking about this, but I definitely wasn't. Everyone saw wild games with goals in the last minutes. We just wanted to equalise, which would have gotten us through."

    Asked whether his players were motivated by a desire to avenge the 2010 defeat, Addo responded: "What hurts the most is that we're out. 

    "I know the public sought revenge but I don't think this way, and I told the players they should not as well. 

    "I am a strong believer that if you do not seek revenge, you will get more blessings. If it was not Uruguay, we would have tried against another team. 

    "It was not important. We were prepared, but today the luck was not on our side. We could have prevented both goals, this is where we have to learn.

    "Sometimes you are so close to taking one step further, but then you concede and it gets into your mind. To come back out of this is very difficult. 

    "We did it against South Korea but today we couldn't do it, the second goal came way too early. 

    "We created a lot of chances, at the end we could have conceded a third goal. I believed until the end that we could score."

    While Ghana have failed to progress beyond the group stage at their last two World Cups (2014 and 2022), Uruguay have fallen at the first hurdle for the first time since doing so in 2002.

  • Ronaldo insists there is no controversy over substitution in South Korea loss Ronaldo insists there is no controversy over substitution in South Korea loss

    Cristiano Ronaldo appeared dissatisfied when he was substituted in Portugal's World Cup defeat to South Korea, though he indicated it had more do with the actions of an opponent than Fernando Santos' decision.

    Ronaldo was withdrawn in the 65th minute and replaced by Andre Silva with the scores level at 1-1 in the Group H finale.

    Hwang Hee-chan's injury-time winner gave South Korea a 2-1 win to seal their progression to the last 16 alongside Portugal.

    With Ronaldo having long since exited the stage, Portugal were unable to rescue anything from the game, with the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star urging his team-mates to learn from their poor performance.

    He said of his reaction while leaving the field: "What happened was that before my departure, [a] Korean player told me to leave quickly. I told him to shut up.

    "He is not the authority, he does not have to give his opinion, he would speed up the step if he were the referee. But there doesn't have to be any controversy.

    "It's the heat of the game. Regardless of what happened, things stay on the field. We have to be united, we are in the next phase. All Portuguese have to be confident because we really want to progress.

    "We knew in advance that we were qualified, there had to be almost a miracle for us not to progress [in] first. But I don't want to justify myself with that.

    "We have to learn from these lessons when we don't play well. I hope we can learn from this defeat and we have to win the next game."

    Santos added of Portugal's showing: "It's a disappointment. We did good things, but then we alternated with the least good. But it can be a warning. It can be a warning."

    Portugal will face the runners-up of Group G in the last 16 next Tuesday.

  • Addo predicts bright future for Ghana but steps down following World Cup exit Addo predicts bright future for Ghana but steps down following World Cup exit

    Otto Addo confirmed he is leaving his role as Ghana coach as he predicted the team will continue to improve after a promising World Cup campaign.

    Addo was appointed as interim boss of the Black Stars in February, but has been juggling the role with his job as a talent coach for Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

    Ghana would have progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar with a win over Uruguay at Al Janoub Stadium on Friday, but ultimately finished bottom of Group H after a 2-0 defeat.

    Andre Ayew missed a first-half penalty, with Giorgian de Arrascaeta's quickfire double putting Uruguay in control, albeit the win was not enough to send Diego Alonso's team into the knockout round.

    In his post-match news conference, Addo announced he would be stepping down.

    "When I started as an assistant coach in October last year, it was clear I would stop after the World Cup," he said.

    "At the moment, me and my family see our future in Germany, I like my role at Dortmund, we are very happy there.

    "I would be leaving even if we were world champions, this is a decision for the family. This is my decision."

    Ghana's squad was the youngest at the tournament, and Addo sees a bright future for the team.

    He said: "This is football, sometimes football is beautiful, sometimes really ugly, unfortunately for us it was not a happy day.

    "There's not one player who has not missed a penalty, their goalkeeper was really good today.

    "We had a lot of chances, but had to do better in defence. Allowing two chances against world-class strikers is two too much. We have a young squad, have to learn, sure it has a bright future.

    "We have to believe in ourselves. The greatest players are great because they have experience. That comes from doing things wrong. 

    "They have to work on all of these things. They will grow from this experience and will do better next time."

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