MANCHESTER, England — Erik ten Hag has hit back at suggestions his Manchester United players are lacking the character to bounce back from a disastrous start to the season.
Uniteds 3-0 defeat to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday was their eighth in just 15 games.
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It has prompted suggestions that key senior players are not showing the fight or desire to put things right but, speaking at a news conference on Friday, the United boss said he has a different view.
“That is not right,” Ten Hag said.Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is coming under increasing pressure after his teams recent struggles. Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
“You cant say that. Remember only the fight we showed against Brentford [to win the game in stoppage time]. If there wasnt spirit in the dressing room and characters in the dressing room, you couldnt do this.
“I have a good squad and I am convinced of the players in this dressing room. They can do a lot better but that is up to me. I have the responsibility to let them play better and I will put every effort in.”
Ten Hag, meanwhile, has also attempted to clarify comments made after the heavy derby defeat to Manchester City that it is impossible to bring the style of football he implemented at Ajax at Old Trafford.
“I cant play like Ajax with different players,” he said.
“I came here with my philosophy based on possession but also to combine it with the DNA of Manchester United and the characteristics of the players. We played very good football last season. This season the philosophy is not different.”
United have also confirmed Casemiro will be out for “several weeks” with a hamstring injury.
The Brazil midfielder made his comeback from an ankle injury in the defeat to Newcastle on Wednesday but was forced off at half-time and is now set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
Raphaël Varane is available to face Fulham after missing the Newcastle game because of illness but Victor Lindelöf is a doubt.