Scott McTominay: Man Utd midfielder says players are ‘firmly behind’ Erik ten Hag

11 December 2023 0 By Total Football News
Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay says dressing has been 'a little toxic at times'

It has been "toxic at times" at Manchester United under former managers but the players are "firmly behind" Erik ten Hag, says midfielder Scott McTominay.

They must beat Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on Tuesday to have any chance of staying in the Champions League.

"It is the players' responsibility, first and foremost," McTominay said.

"We have had many amazing players and right now we are at the stage where we have big characters in the dressing room.

"It is not just a case of like [with] some of the other managers where it has been a little bit toxic at times - the boys are firmly behind the manager.

"We've got amazing coaching staff. We just want to do well for the football club and it's as simple as that."

Midfielder McTominay, 27, made his Manchester United debut in 2017 under Jose Mourinho.

Last week, Ten Hag, in his second season at Old Trafford, dismissed suggestions he has a split dressing room, saying he and his squad are "together".

The reigns of predecessors David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as well as interim boss Ralf Rangnick, were all plagued, to varying extents, by rumours of player unrest.

In an interview in September, Solskjaer criticised the behaviour of some players during his time in charge.

United are sixth in the Premier League and bottom of their Champions League group, needing to beat Bayern and relying on other results going their way to qualify for the last 16.

"We are inconsistent as a team, we have not been naive to that," McTominay added.

"We have spoken with the coaching staff about it. The schedule has been relentless, but we can't use that as an excuse. As a group we have to come together and find out the answers to that.

"In the Premier League, every team is super athletic, every team in the Champions League can run, we need to match that and more when you play for this club.

"The manager can't do too much from the sidelines, it needs to come from the players."

Ten Hag, meanwhile, pointed to injury issues as one of the reasons behind his side's inconsistencies compared with last season's encouraging third-placed finish.

"We had a regular team [last season], not so many changes, especially in our backline - we had a regular formation and that helps you," the Dutchman said.

"When we get back to a regular base, we will play better and there is a better chance you are consistent.

"I know this team can perform at really high levels. It is not like we did it three months ago - no, we did it last week. It starts with the right attitude."

Analysis

BBC Sport's Simon Stone

It was the final answer of the news conference when Scott McTominay used the word "toxic". In defending the current United manager, he admitted the dressing room had turned against previous ones.

The assumption must be if it has happened before, it can happen again.

Manchester United have an enormous week ahead of them. Bayern Munich, followed by Liverpool on Sunday. The difference in mood between two victories and two defeats is vast.

Sadly for Ten Hag, his solution for the maddening inconsistency that has blighted United this season, the return of personnel, will not be solved in days. Lisandro Martinez, in particular, is not expected to be back before Christmas.

For all the positive elements of their performance against Galatasaray, they did not win, and the triumph against Chelsea last week has been put into perspective by the Blues' dismal display at Goodison Park on Sunday.

No-one can really know which United will turn up at Old Trafford on Tuesday. But, after their 5-1 defeat by Frankfurt at the weekend, everyone can be pretty sure that Bayern - their status as group winners already assured - will be hugely motivated.

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