Erik ten Hag defends Man United job in impassioned interview - but Alan Shearer spots a problem

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and Alan Shearer
-Credit: (Image: BBC Sport)

Match of the Day pundit and former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer has told Erik ten Hag why he feels Manchester United were rightfully criticised over the course of the campaign.

On Saturday morning, an interview with Ten Hag was published in the Netherlands where he claimed he felt his team had been unfairly treated by British pundits. However, his team managed to answer those critics with a 2-1 win over fierce rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

After the match, Ten Hag spoke to BBC Sport and was asked by Gary Lineker whether he felt he had been unfairly treated by the media. The Dutchman responded: "I think so.

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"The team, me as well, it was not right." Shearer though was quick to argue: "The only thing I would say to that is that you have had a team out there today who have shown a great attitude, who’ve shown great ability, who have won every single tackle.

"That hasn’t always been the case this season though, has it? So you do understand why we do criticise sometimes.

"If you had that every single week, you would not have finished eighth. Today was unbelievable."

Ten Hag acknowledged the point Shearer was making however he added: "But we did not have the players. You are right, we have seen the same things.

"There was not always good football, definitely not, but we had to make compromises all the time and then you can’t play the football you want to play. I have been here for two years and probably we had three or four times where we had the full squad on board.

"Also today, some massive players like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Casemiro were not on board." Lineker then quizzed Ten Hag about his future at the club and whether he knew if this would be his last match or not.

"I don’t know [if this was my last game] but the only thing I am doing is preparing my team, developing my team, progressing my players because for me this is a project," United's boss replied. "When I came in, it was a mess and we are now better but we are far not where we want to be."

"Football is about winning trophies," Ten Hag concluded. "At the end of the day, I want to play the best football.

"I want to play dynamic football, attacking football but in the end, you have to win games and you have to win trophies and now we are. That is the mentality we brought in.

"We only had one opportunity - the FA Cup - and we did it. As I say, I am so proud of the players and staff because they have done an incredible job."