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Manchester United players 'concerned about Erik ten Hag running demands'

Man United players 'concerned about Erik ten Hag running demands'
© Reuters
Manchester United players reportedly fear that the brutal running demands of head coach Erik ten Hag are contributing to the club's injury crisis.

A portion of Manchester United players have reportedly taken issue with the running demands of head coach Erik ten Hag.

The Red Devils were condemned to their 11th Premier League defeat of the 2023-24 campaign against bitter rivals Manchester City on Sunday, where Phil Foden's brace and an Erling Haaland strike rendered Marcus Rashford's opener inconsequential.

After briefly reigniting their Champions League pursuit earlier this year, the sixth-placed Red Devils are now 11 points behind Aston Villa in the final top-four spot and also have a six-point gap to make up to Tottenham Hotspur, who have a game in hand.

Eleven Premier League defeats is the joint-most among the top 11 teams in the division alongside Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, while a mere 37 goals is the worst record of its kind inside the top 13.

It was claimed earlier this season that Man United players had blamed their marked dip in form on Ten Hag's brutal training regime, and according to the Manchester Evening News, some players are worried about the Dutchman's running demands.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans after the match on February 24, 2024© Reuters

The unnamed athletes supposedly believe that the unforgiving training methods are a factor in the club's injury crisis, which saw a total of eight senior players miss the weekend's Manchester derby.

Harry Maguire, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez, Anthony Martial, Rasmus Hojlund, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia and Aaron Wan-Bissaka could not take part, while Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane were doubts before the contest.

Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho and Diogo Dalot are the only outfield players not to spend time on the sidelines this term, and Ten Hag was also forced to bring Rashford and ageing defender Jonny Evans off due to knocks against Man City.

During the Dutchman's debut season at the helm, the Red Devils' relentless schedule saw them play 62 competitive games on account of their progression to the FA Cup and EFL Cup finals, as well as their Europa Leagu quarter-final exit.

Sunday's derby defeat to the treble winners marked Man United's 38th game in all competitions already this season, and Ten Hag's side will play at least 12 more before the campaign concludes.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford reacts after sustaining an injury on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Three of those fixtures - against Brentford and Everton in the league and Liverpool in the FA Cup - will be played either side of the international break this month, and a new date must also be found for their postponed clash with Sheffield United.

Despite a successful first year at the Old Trafford helm, Ten Hag's job is believed to be under threat owing to Man United's indifferent form in 2023-24, and he is yet to be publicly backed by new shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The INEOS founder is conducting a major overhaul of the football operations department in Manchester, where Dan Ashworth is expected to be appointed as the club's new sporting director from Newcastle United.

Ashworth has apparently met with ex-Chelsea boss Graham Potter to discuss the Old Trafford gig, while Ratcliffe is supposedly dreaming of hiring three-time Champions League-winning coach Zinedine Zidane.

However, the former Real Madrid manager is not believed to be interested in taking the reins at Man United as he is still waiting for the France national team job to become available.

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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford reacts after sustaining an injury on March 3, 2024
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