Erik ten Hag refuses to take questions from journalists critical of Man Utd form

Erik ten Hag chats with his players
Erik ten Hag was unhappy with the criticism he received following the win over Coventry - Getty Images/Michael Regan

Erik ten Hag refused to take questions from a number of journalists who were critical of him during and after Manchester United’s dramatic Wembley collapse at the weekend.

The United manager has branded the reaction to letting a 3-0 lead slip against Coventry as a “disgrace” and “embarassing”, then after the club’s victory against Sheffield United made his feelings clear by not taking questions from a group of reporters in his post-match press conference.

It is understood that Ten Hag has felt some of the opinions and reporting of his future as United manager has crossed the line and believes it to be disrespectful. Some of the coverage he has taken issue with includes social media posts mid-match while the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday was still being played.

After matches, Premier League managers speak to the written press after broadcast rights-holders, with journalists often signalling before being prompted by a press officer to ask their question. The journalists who Ten Hag was upset by were in the press auditorium but were not invited to quiz him after the 4-2 win against the Premier League’s bottom club on Wednesday evening.

Ten Hag has one full season left on his contract and his future has been under the spotlight this season, with no decision made following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in the club to take control of football operations.

In December, United banned four media outlets from a press conference with Ten Hag, saying they were not given a right of reply to negative stories about the club. Journalists from Sky, ESPN, the Manchester Evening News and the Mirror were excluded after reporting some players were unhappy with Ten Hag.

Ten Hag’s team fell behind twice against Sheffield United and needed late goals from Bruno Fernandes and Rasmus Hojlund to claim their win.

Bruno Fernandes revealed he spent the final few minutes of the win trying to create a goal for debutant Ethan Wheatley. It was a special night for the club’s academy as Wheatley, fresh from scoring for the under-18s as they beat Manchester City to lift the Premier League Cup on Tuesday night, came off the bench late on to become the 250th academy graduate to make his debut for United.

Erik ten Hag snubs critical journalists and refuses to answer questions over Man Utd future
Bruno Fernandes was keen to get Ethan Wheatley involved in the game - Getty Images /Matt McNulty

With injuries hitting Ten Hag’s squad, the manager has frequently relied on academy players to supplement his first-team squad and Wheatley was joined on the bench by Harry Amass, Habeeb Ogunneye and Louis Jackson, who all played 45 minutes of Tuesday’s under-18s match.

“It’s probably an amazing feeling for [Wheatley],” Fernandes added. “I’ve been a kid myself, although I didn’t come through an academy to play for the first team like he’s doing.

“He should be really proud, I hope he had family and friends here today to see it because it’s a moment not to forget. It’s something he’ll always remember.

“Many of them [the young players] have been on the bench and they still haven’t had their chance, so if he plays today, it’s because the manager has trust in him.”

United are 13 points behind Aston Villa in fourth place, with the club on the verge of missing out on Champions League football for next season.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.