Ten Hag questioned about Man United’s player unrest, transfer dealings

Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag watches his team during the English FA Cup final soccer match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, June 3, 2023.(Jon Super/AP)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Erik ten Hag’s second season at Manchester United is not going to plan.

Three defeats in the Premier League already have left his team a long way off the pace at the top of the standings, while United’s return to the Champions League ended in a 4-3 loss at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley, Ten Hag has had to deal with reports of unrest among some players and on Friday faced questions about the influence of agent Kees Vos in terms of the club’s transfer dealings.

Vos is Ten Hag’s agent, and his Sports Entertainment Group also represents Rasmus Hojlund, who was an $82 million signing from Atalanta in the off-season, and negotiated Sofyan Amrabat’s deadline day loan move from Fiorentina.

Reports this week claimed there were concerns from some United staff about Vos’ involvement in deals, but Ten Hag dismissed suggestions that there could be a conflict of interest.

“For player decisions, transfers, it’s always 50-50, we both have a veto — the club, represented by (football director) John Murtough and me,” Ten Hag said in response to the reports. “So there can never be a distraction.”

Stories of unrest are commonplace when a team is struggling on the field. United has endured a troubled start to the season, having lost three of its first five games for the first time in the Premier League era.

Off the field there have been issues with Mason Greenwood, Antony and Jadon Sancho.

“It’s my second year. I know it’s not always only going up, you will have your gaps and you get stronger from it as long as you stay together, and that’s what we’re doing,” Ten Hag said. “The dressing room, staff, all the staff, coaches, medical, everyone is united and at United you fight.”

Addressing reports of player unrest, Ten Hag added: “I don’t know if it’s a leak but I know opinion, I know my players. Everyone can make suggestions, we are OK with it.”

Ten Hag said Sancho would not be part of his squad for the game at Turf Moor. The winger has been made to train away from the first team after he posted social media that he was being made a “scapegoat.”

“It depends on him,” said the United manager. “For the rest, we are preparing for Burnley and that’s our focus. He will not be in the squad.”

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