Manchester United‘s players came in for a scathing assessment from TNT Sports pundits after losing at Newcastle, with Jermaine Jenas suggesting the Red Devils were ‘sending a message’ to Erik ten Hag.
Both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial endured trying evenings, with their body language and work-rate coming under fire during the game. The latter was even seen shouting and gesturing at his manager during the match, with Ten Hag visibly infuriated with the French forward.
Both forwards came off after 62 minutes of the Red Devils’ defeat after below par outings, with Jenas suggesting that there were ‘signs’ of discontent from the players on their miserable evening at St. James’ Park.
‘I personally thought tonight there were signs that there were a couple of players in there for me that either wasn’t happy with the tactics that was put to them or wasn’t happy with their positions on the pitch,’ the TNT Sports pundit said.
Jermaine Jenas offered a scathing assessment of Man United’s performance at Newcastle
Rashford was lacklustre in attack for the visitors and was duly hooked just after the hour mark
Anthony Martial’s performance also came in for criticism leading the line for United at Newcastle
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‘The body language of a team tells you a lot at times and there were a few of them that were sending a message to the manager.
‘I thought today Marcus Rashford on that 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 playing on this right hand side”.
‘No tracking back, you had Martial getting ran by Fabian Schar from the centre half doing whatever he wants. There was too many of those moments that I looked at and I thought he (Ten Hag) seems to be such a disciplinarian off the pitch but I didn’t see the same level of respect from the players on the pitch today and that’s a big concern.’
His co-pundit Ally McCoist added: ‘It’s got nothing to do with the manager. When you cross that white line, you’re playing for yourself and the supporters that have travelled.’
United have now suffered back-to-back defeats to Eddie Howe’s side in just over a month.
This latest setback comes at a time of instability at United for the Dutch manager; after a poor run of form, the Red Devils picked up successive Premier League wins before squandering a 2-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Galatasaray in midweek.
McCoist insisted that aside from centre backs Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, every other player for the Red Devils were below par in Saturday’s loss, adding that questions needed to be asked about the side’s ‘commitment’.
Ally McCoist claimed that aside from centre backs Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw every United player was below par on Saturday
McCoist suggested that the players have been letting Ten Hag down and added questions needed to be asked about their commitment
‘Of course they are!’ he said when asked whether the players were letting the manager down. ‘It’s not about letting the manager down, you’ve got to look at yourself.
‘When you get on that pitch, you represent yourself, your family, and supporters around the world.’
It was a display underlined by hands on hips and waving arms from United’s attackers, with Martial caught on camera gesticulating at the Dutchman on the touchline at times in the game.
The Frenchman was filmed turning his head towards the manager and holding his hands out at his sides while Ten Hag raged at him, shouting indistinctly – a display which caught Jenas’ eye at half-time.
‘This seems to be the culture within this team at the minute. A lot of arms raising, a lot of blaming of one another, and no cohesion.
‘They’re not together and (Ten Hag) can feel it – he knows that they’re not going to win this game if they don’t somehow get themselves together.’
Rashford’s own poor showing comes at a time when the English star is desperate for goals, scoring just twice in the league – one of which came from the spot last time out against Everton.
At a time when England are likely taking their planning for next summer’s Euros into the next phase after learning their group stage opponents on Saturday night, Rashford’s form in front of goal is a growing concern for club and country.
And Jenas was quick to also point out that the problems were not solely confined to his shooting boots, but also his attitude on the field.
‘I think it was poor. I think his body language was shocking throughout the game, too many moments throwing his arms about,’ the TNT Sports pundit said. ‘I feel like he’s sending a message to his manager almost, like “I don’t want to play out here”.
Ten Hag’s side have struggled for form despite sitting seventh and only four points from the Champions League spots
The Dutchman was seen shouting at his forward Martial from the touchline in the first half
‘Things like that are criminal really, putting your team under that type of pressure by not doing your duties as a wide man. To be tracking back, its clear Livramento knows that he doesn’t want to come with me. He’s kind of half going, he’s never there, Marcus, and it happened time and time again.
‘He’s very fortunate that more often than not that whenever they break, he’s got no interest in tracking him back. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw continually coming to the rescue for the ineptitude of the wide players.’
‘It’s not just them; Fabian Schar is running past Martial, Trippier is running past Garnacho – all over the park they were second best Manchester United, Newcastle just weren’t able to capitalise.’
Jenas’ words of warning were not heeded by United, though, with Newcastle finally finding a breakthrough in the second half and holding on for a deserved three points.