Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was overheard ripping into his stars for not playing how he wants during their friendly victory against Crystal Palace.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho scored in a 3-1 victory for the Red Devils, maintaining their impressive pre-season record as Ten Hag kicks his side into shape ahead of the new campaign.
The former Ajax boss though was not fully happy with what he saw, as a pitchside mic picked up an explosive message after a pattern of play that ended with the ball going long.
A pitchside mic picked up Erik ten Hag’s furious message late in their win over Crystal Palace
In the final minutes of the game, the ball was played back to David de Gea who went long instead of playing short, while youngster Charlie Savage failed to drop deep to provide an extra option to the goalkeeper from his defensive midfield position.
Ten Hag was furious at what he just saw and roared out: ‘What the f*** are you doing?’
Footage of the moment was posted on social media, and United fans have questioned whether it was Savage who had been vented at or the goalkeeper.
United fans suggested the comment was aimed at Charlie Savage who didn’t drop deep to pick up the ball from goalkeeper David de Gea who was forced to go long and gave the ball away
One fan suggested that it highlighted the need for Ten Hag to sign a defensive midfielder this summer.
They tweeted: ‘He said that to Charlie who didn’t go to take the ball as the CDM (centre defensive-midfielder) We desperately need FDJ (Frenkie de Jong).’
Despite a broad agreement being in place for De Jong in a reported £72million deal – and Barcelona keen to push the Dutch star out the door in a bid to recuperate some of their outlay this summer – a deal is proving hard to complete.
Manchester United are hoping to recruit midfielder Frenkie de Jong by the end of the window
Despite Ten Hag’s frustration in that moment of their win over Palace, it was the latest positive result in a pre-season that is offering United fans some glimmer of hope for the future – after undergoing their worst Premier League season in history.
The result follows 4-1 wins over Melbourne Victory and a 4-0 triumph over rivals Liverpool.
Improved performances of players such as Martial and Rashford are another catalyst for optimism.
Ten Hag has been quick to stamp his authority at Old Trafford, and earlier this month, a video went viral of Ten Hag putting the players through a passing drill, to which he not happy about how it was going.
Ten Hag earlier this month was overheard hitting out at United players for ‘making too many mistakes’ during a simple passing exercise in one of his first sessions as manager
The Dutchman could be heard, along with his coaching staff, shouting to the players ‘right foot, left foot’ after each pass and even telling his squad that they are ‘making too many mistakes’
United’s new manager has also introduced strict new rules regarding time-keeping, nutrition and alcohol consumption after taking over this summer.
‘When you want to get results, you need a team,’ he said. ‘It is organisation, co-operation, and also you need discipline.
‘When there is no discipline around, you will not find it on the pitch as well.
‘I’m quite severe on such issues. I will tell every player what I expect of them. I have high standards because you are here, you are playing for Manchester United, then you must bring it every day on the pitch.
United’s pre-season performances though have given fans something to be optimistic about
‘Why are you not acting to your standards? That is an expectation I have.’
The 52-year-old has only been working with some of his new players for a couple of weeks, so he is making the most of the opportunity to make a big impression and hammer home the principles of his football philosophy.
There have been double training sessions in Bangkok and the less humid conditions of Australia’s mid-winter.
‘This is why we started them quite early,’ said Ten Hag. ‘Fitness but also I wanted to bring in a certain way of playing. It won’t be done when we finish pre-season, but when we finish pre-season we have to get results.
‘We want to play proactive, attacking football where it’s possible. We want to play good but if we don’t play good we still have to win.
‘I have a strategy. It’s a process, it takes time. But in the end we have to make sure from the outset there is a winning team.’
Manchester United have signed Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and confirmed that they have struck a deal with centre-back Lisandro Martinez.