EPL

Erik ten Hag hits back at Jamie Carragher’s criticism of Manchester United

By Sports Desk February 27, 2024

Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag has hit back at Jamie Carragher’s criticism of his side’s defending.

Speaking on Sky Sports on Monday evening, former Liverpool defender Carragher was scathing about United’s display in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Fulham, which ended a five-match winning run that had fuelled some optimism around Old Trafford.

But Ten Hag accused Carragher of being biased against his side, saying: “First of all, some analysts are very objective in their comments, very good advice, some are very subjective.

“Jamie Carragher is one of them. From the first moment on he has criticised and now he wants to make his point.

“Probably in the first half an hour, yeah, he had a point. Fulham in their midfield set-up a little bit surprised us and then we have to find the solutions. After half an hour we found the solutions.

“I was not pleased with the performance in defending, especially with the left side, how we did the pressing because they came out, especially in the first half an hour, several times on the left side and that can’t happen.

“And that has everything to do with willingness, spirit and passion. That was in the previous weeks very good from this team and therefore we won football games.

“I know footballers are not robots, sometimes they have bad days. But it can’t be, it’s unacceptable and we have to do better tomorrow. But in the weeks before we have done very well.”

Ten Hag also gave a staunch defence of Antony, whose future is the subject of much speculation.

The United boss did not comment on whether the Brazilian winger could be sold in the summer but insisted he can get back to his best after failing to make the starting line-up in the Premier League this year.

“I backed him for a long time,” said Ten Hag, who previously managed Antony at Ajax.

“I know his abilities and he has great abilities. I know from the past, he is unstoppable, no defender can stop him because he’s one of the quickest players in the first 10 yards. When he plays that game, he will perform.

“I’m very confident he will do it for the future. He is resilient, he is a character and he will fight back. I back him and he now has to wait for his chance and once he is there he has to pick up.”

United face a crunch week in their season, with Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash against Nottingham Forest followed by the Manchester derby at the Etihad on Sunday.

The FA Cup is the Red Devils’ last chance of silverware, while defeat on Sunday could spell the end of their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

“When you are unbeaten for January and February and you lose one game – we know our aim is to win every game, at United you have to win every game,” said Ten Hag.

“Obviously it was a poor performance, a poor defeat, we are aware of this and we want to stay in every competition so, yeah, we have to win tomorrow. But it doesn’t change our approach because that is for every game.

“So many more defining moments will be coming up. The first game is the most important.”

Midfielder Casemiro is available for the trip to Forest after being forced off against Fulham with a cut to his head.

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