Ten Hag defends Man Utd squad after criticism over character

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MANCHESTER, England — Erik ten Haag has suggested his Manchester United players lack the character to bounce back from a disastrous start to the season.

United’s 3-0 defeat by Newcastle in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday was their eighth in just 15 games.

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It suggested that key senior players were showing no desire to fight back or put things right but, speaking at a press conference on Friday, the United boss said he had a different view.

“That’s not right,” Ten Haag said.

“You can’t say that, just remember the fight we showed against Brentford [to win the game in stoppage time]. If you don’t have spirit in the dressing room and character in the dressing room, you can’t do it.

“I have a good squad and I believe in the players in this dressing room. They can do a lot better but it depends on me. It is my responsibility to make them play better and I will try my best.”

Ten Haag, meanwhile, also tried to clarify comments made after the heavy derby defeat to Manchester City that it would be impossible to bring the style of football he implemented at Ajax to Old Trafford.

He said, “I cannot play like Ajax with different players.

“I brought my philosophy here which is based on possession but to combine it with Manchester United’s DNA and the characteristics of the players. We played very good football last season. The philosophy is no different this season.”

United also confirmed Casemiro will be out for “several weeks” with a hamstring injury.

The Brazilian midfielder made his return from an ankle injury in Wednesday’s defeat to Newcastle but was forced off at half-time and is now set for an extended spell on the sidelines.

Rafael Varane could face Fulham after missing the Newcastle game through illness but Victor Lindelof is a doubt.

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