'It's not about Anthony Martial; it's about the team': Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag justifies rage in Newcastle defeat

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 2: Anthony Martial of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 2, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted he needed to get "aggressive" with Anthony Martial during Saturday's defeat away to Newcastle.

United were woeful all round in losing 1-0 at St. James' Park – in a game which, despite the narrow scoreline, the hosts utterly dominated, racking up 22 shots to the visitors' eight.

But Ten Hag appeared particularly unimpressed with Martial's performance, laying into the French forward before half-time.

Martial was ultimately substituted just after the hour mark, and Ten Hag has stood firmly by his own actions, stressing that they were for the good of the side as a whole.

Manchester United's Dutch manager Erik ten Hag looks on during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on December 2, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Ten Hag's United have now lost six of their 14 Premier League games this season (Image credit: Getty Images)

Speaking at full-time, the Dutchman explained: "It's not about Anthony Martial; it's about the team. 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."

United certainly are enduring a difficult spell right now: they've won only three out of seven games since the start of November, going out of the Carabao Cup to Newcastle, and finding themselves on the brink of Champions League elimination after twice throwing away a two-goal lead at Galatasaray in midweek.

There is a sense that the pressure is really building on Ten Hag, who has been in charge at Old Trafford for a little under 18 months now.

He'll be demanding a big reaction from his players when they return to action on Wednesday night at home to Chelsea in the Premier League.

More Manchester United stories

Erik ten Hag has given the green light to Donny van de Beek leaving Manchester United.

Meanwhile, one of Europe's most in-form strikers appears to be interested in a move to Old Trafford.

And has United outcast Jadon Sancho finally found himself a new club?

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1