Erik ten Hag offers explanation behind ‘aggressive’ bust-up with Anthony Martial during Newcastle game
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has opened up on his "aggressive" touchline argument with Anthony Martial during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Newcastle.
It was an evening to forget for United, who were outclassed, outworked and outplayed by their Premier League opponents.
A second-half goal from in-form winger Anthony Gordon was the difference maker but the home side dominated for large spells, and could have easily stretched their lead to three or four.
Martial made a lackadaisical attempt to track Fabian Schar's run from deep and, as you can see from the footage below, an angry Ten Hag made his feelings clear.
I’m watching this back and I’m in disbelief at Ten Hag again. Martial tries to engage in closing down but look at Rashford pathetic attempt to close down. It’s criminal!! pic.twitter.com/BPdUCNnzgI— Saeed TV (@SaeedTV_) December 3, 2023
Rasmus Hojlund, who has yet to score a Premier League goal, was instructed to warm-up by United's coaching staff but to the surprise of many, Martial re-emerged for the second half.
After the full-time whistle, Ten Hag touched on the incident involving Martial.
"It's not about Anthony Martial, it's about the team," he said via the Manchester Evening News. "I try to energise the team and try to get a reaction from the team in this moment.
"As you see, we had a tough period and when you're coaching you are a little more aggressive, so that's normal."
Martial scored his first league goal of the season in last Sunday's 3-0 win over Everton but has struggled for consistent first-team minutes since Ten Hag's arrival.
Earlier this year, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand voiced his own frustrations at Martial's overall contribution at Old Trafford.
He said on his FIVE YouTube channel: “I know for a fact that when Erik ten Hag's coaching staff went in there and saw Martial up close and personal, they were like ‘we can see why every manager rates him’.
“Because his ability is world class but he can't put it together.”
Ferdinand added: "Anthony Martial is so talented but he has to deliver consistently, that is what Man Utd No 9s do. They don't have days off. That is his problem, whether it is fitness or form, he falls off.
"It is so disappointing and frustrating because he has crazy ability.”
Thoughts on Martial's future at Manchester United? Let us know in the comments.