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“Unacceptable…” Erik ten Hag singles out Jamie Carragher after ripping apart Man United tactics



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Credit: Manchester United

Erik ten Hag has hit back after Jamie Carragher ripped apart two of Manchester United’s tactical problems during their loss against Fulham.

Jamie Carragher made a point on Monday night to dissect two of Manchester United‘s biggest problems during their 2-1 loss against Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday evening.

It was Erik ten Hag‘s first loss of 2024; however, the former Liverpool defender explained that problems were showing during the Old Trafford game that have been persistent throughout the entire season rather than just issues that crept up in that one fixture.

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“20 seconds into the game against Fulham – this already is the big problem they’ve got, and it’s been a problem for Manchester United all season – the space between the back four and the midfield,” he said.

He continued: “We go to the reason why they’re poor defensively and can’t cope with counterattacks. They’ve got no pace at the back, and they lack legs in midfield. Another big problem for them is when they’ve got the ball.”

“These players can’t receive the ball in the positions they take up, so actually, there is a massive problem for Manchester United when they’ve got the ball. How many times have we seen Manchester United players having to run 40 yards back towards their own goal?”

However, in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Ten Hag hit back, claiming that Carragher was being subjective rather than objective with his analysis and that although the performance of his players against Fulham was “unacceptable”, players are allowed to have occasional off days.

“Some analysts are objective in their comments, [offer] very good advices, some are very subjective – Jamie Carragher is one of them,” Ten Hag said.

“For the first moment, he is criticising, and now he wants to make his point. In the first half an hour [vs Fulham], he had a point. Fulham surprised us with their midfield setup, and we had to find a solution. We did it after half an hour.

“I wasn’t pleased with the defensive performance, especially down the left side, and that has everything to do with willingness, spirit and passion. That was good in previous weeks; therefore we won football games.

“Footballers are not robots; sometimes they have bad days. It was unacceptable, and we have to do better tomorrow (vs Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening).”

Ten Hag continued: “We were unbeaten in January and February, and we lost one game. It was a poor performance and defeat, we are aware,” he said. “We want to stay in every competition. We have to win tomorrow. It doesn’t change our approach – that is for every game.

“I know the future. But I look at today, we work on the team development and try to win every game. We look forward to the longer term.”