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Erik ten Hag replies to Manchester United interest as pundit pundit calls for Maguire criticism to stop

Erik ten Hag replies to Manchester United interest as pundit pundit calls for Maguire criticism to stop

Erik ten Hag has refused to comment on reports that he could become Manchester United’s next permanent manager.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Ten Hag is now United’s favored candidate to be the club’s next permanent manager.

United haven’t finalized their plans yet, but they do want to make an appointment before the end of the season.

Mauricio Pochettino, along with the Dutchman, remains a contender for the post, and United have not ruled out making a bid for Thomas Tuchel, despite the continued instability at Chelsea. Ten Hag, on the other hand, appears to be leading the way.

The 52-year-old is under contract with Ajax until next year, but his remuneration package should not be a problem for United. 

The Premier League giants have been impressed by his ability to rebuild his team after important players have left.

Ten Hag has now had his first opportunity to comment about the most recent development in United’s interest.

The news of their preference for the Ajax manager came after his team was eliminated from the Champions League this week by Benfica.

When queried about the links, Ten Hag gave the expected response. Speaking ahead of Ajax’s match against Feyenoord this weekend, the Dutchman underlined that his priority is to finish the season strongly with Ajax.

“I am just focused on this season,” Ten Hag said during his press conference. “All energy is being put in the current squad. I don’t think about next season. I want to get the maximum out of the current season, we can still win two trophies.”

On his side’s departure from the Champions League, Ten Hag counted: “Of course, it is clear that this disappointment is coming. But a sportsman fights back, gets himself back together and focuses on the future. We have to make sure we play in the Champions League again next year.”

Pundit calls for Maguire criticism to stop

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has dubbed Manchester United captain Harry Maguire’s constant criticism this season “disrespectful” and has called for United to change formation to help him get back on track.

Maguire, who was named to Gareth Southgate’s current England team on Thursday for upcoming friendlies against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast, has faced practically non-stop criticism this season.

He has delivered some underwhelming performances, and the patience of many Manchester United fans is wearing thin.

When he was substituted against Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, some United fans booed the former Leicester City player.

They booed him as he rushed off the field to be replaced by Juan Mata with only six minutes of normal time remaining.

While part of the criticism directed at Maguire this season is warranted given how badly his form has deteriorated, Keown has confessed that he is concerned about the level of abuse directed at the England defender.

He has also stated how it must be affecting him directly.

Keown told talkSPORT : “I’m not really comfortable with the amount of criticism that he gets and if I was in his camp, or he was my lad, I’d be asking him to toughen up and tell a number of these former players where to go really. I feel that the criticism that’s come his way has affected him.

“There’s no doubt that in that midweek game in the Champions League he didn’t seem like the same player, particularly in possession. There’s a weakness when people are running at him and there’s a feeling in the stadium that Manchester United fans don’t really want him there. It’s difficult for him.”

While football fans have the right to express their views, the players who are subjected to criticism and, in some cases, abuse are human beings.

They will suffer as a result of constant criticism, and Keown believes that, as difficult as it has been for Maguire, he must find a way to remain strong.

“It’s a big ask,” Keown added when asked if Maguire should be able to handle the criticism. “It’s a tough thing for anyone to deal with, but he’s got to stay strong.

“Is it respectful if you’re part of his family and you have to listen to that? I’m talking about his reaction to that criticism and it’s a human reaction. I feel like it’s a little bit disrespectful. People who have had extremely good careers are lambasting him, taking his career apart and he’s taking it to heart.

“I just feel like the formation should change to protect him, actually. People will ask, ‘why should you do that?’ and you see United are leaking goals for fun and they should play in a three.

“If he doesn’t have a midfield in front that wants to protect, he’s in trouble. He gets isolated far too much. I’m saying how I would deal with it. If I was hearing this amount of criticism then I’d tell them where to go.”


Erik ten Hag replies to Manchester United interest as pundit pundit calls for Maguire criticism to stop

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