Ten Hag says he is willing to sacrifice himself to spare his players from criticism

Different Manchester United managers have varied in their approach to the playing squad in the media. There is no right or wrong, but each boss has a defined style. Where the squad are involved, some are more popular than others.

Jose Mourinho was ready to criticise his players angrily in the media when they were not up to standard. Ultimately this ended up leading to his downfall, even if he was right.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to hammer his players at all, often bending the truth to protect them. Interim boss Ralf Rangnick is as transparent as it gets, speaking what he sees as the truth, whether that means criticising the players or his own errors of judgement.

Erik ten Hag has a clearly defined approach too, and it is more similar to Solskjaer than Mourinho or Rangnick.

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Ten Hag has been speaking about his way of dealing with his players and the media, and it could be very popular with United’s squad.

Quoted by Ajax Showtime, Ten Hag said: “I definitely protect people outwardly. Internally it can be different if someone has crossed a border. 

“Ultimately, it is top sport. If my protective attitude is at the expense of myself, then so be it. 

“I am the manager, the leader, I do that in the interest of the result and of Ajax. I am subordinate to that.’

While this creates the potential problem that United’s players could hide behind Ten Hag, and leak pressure which could bring him down like Solskjaer, the positives are that he will protect the players and if it works well, this will foster a respect and togetherness.

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At the moment United’s players appear to have stopped playing for Ralf Rangnick. While the manager is a wise director of football, as a coach, he has made errors, and some of his comments to the media about the entire squad needing improvement, have probably not endeared him to this group.

Ten Hag is a players’ coach, and likes to support his stars. He added: “The Internet has changed a lot. People’s problems are becoming more and more complex as society becomes more and more complex. You can also see that in football players. If you want to get the most out of people, you have to be interested in them.”

United’s squad will likely respond well to Ten Hag’s approach. Solskjaer’s management style was popular, even if his tactics were seen as as paper-thin. The incoming manager is more well-rounded, and hopefully, will be the boss the Red Devils supporters have been crying out for.

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