‘Nothing to do with the manager’ – McCoist questions Man Utd players’ commitment after loss
Ally McCoist said Manchester United’s lacklustre display during a 1-0 defeat away to Newcastle was “nothing to do with the manager” and called on the players to take more pride in their performances.
Erik ten Hag’s side were second best at St James’ Park and were eventually undone by an Anthony Gordon strike in the second half.
But it wasn’t the result that grabbed the headlines; rather it was the manner of a defeat that saw United barely fire a shot on Tyneside.
“You said something there [Jermaine], ‘Are they playing for him [Ten Hag]?’ I really dislike that because it’s got nothing to do with the manager,” McCoist said.
“When you go out and go over that white line, you’re playing for yourself and you’re playing for the 5,000 supporters that have travelled.
“It’s nothing to do with the manager.”
Asked if the players were letting themselves down, he added: “Of course they are, 100 per cent.
“Never mind not letting the manager down or not carrying out the manager’s instructions, you’ve got to look at yourself first of all.
“I played for lots of managers and coaches I didn’t get on particularly very well with and they make decisions you don’t agree with, but when you go out on that pitch you represent yourself, you represent your family, and you represent the travelling support and the millions of supporters around the world.
“That’s who you play for. You’ve got to represent them and do it in a manner that you didn’t see tonight.”
Jenas picked out Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for particular criticism.
Rashford’s lack of form this season has been well documented, and he cut a frustrated figure throughout on the right-hand side at St James’ Park.
The England international was ineffective in attack and defence before he and Martial were withdrawn in the 61st minute.
“There was a couple of players in there for me that either weren’t happy with the tactics that were put to them or weren’t happy with their positions on the pitch,” Jenas said.
“But the body language of a team tells you a lot at times, and there was a few of them that were sending a message to the manager I thought today.
“I thought Marcus Rashford on the right-hand side in particular, the way that he just walked around throwing his arms around was one for me that said, ‘Look, I don’t want to be out playing on this right-hand side’.
“No tracking back, you had Martial getting run by Fabian Schar from centre-half into midfield doing whatever he wants.
“There were too many of those moments that I looked at and I thought, he seems to be such a disciplinarian off the pitch, Erik ten Hag, but I didn’t see that same level of respect from the players on the pitch today.
“And that’s a big concern.”
A run of three straight victories before this chastening loss means Ten Hag’s position is unlikely to come under immediate threat, but Jenas wouldn’t be surprised to see him under pressure if these types of performances become the norm.
United haven’t beaten a top-half opponent all season and take on Chelsea and Bayern Munich in two of their next three fixtures.
“I just think that we’re in an era now where I think players are fully aware that they can almost get away with that, knowing that they’re putting so much pressure on the manager that he’ll go or he’ll get sacked eventually,” Jenas added.
“And then they’ll get back to being on their toes and looking good again, because the new manager’s come through the door that they want to impress.
“Tonight, when you look at that kind of performance, there’s not many points there.
“This team from a cohesive point of view tonight, if that’s what they’re going to be going forward, they can write off the Champions League.”
United must beat Bayern Munich in their last Champions League group match to have a chance of qualifying for the last 16.
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