Gary Lineker comes out swinging after awkward TV interview with Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag

-Credit: (Image: BBC Sport)
-Credit: (Image: BBC Sport)


Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer have defended their post-match interview technique following criticism for their approach to Erik ten Hag after Manchester United's 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

Despite the win, the Match of the Day hosts did not shy away from addressing United's less than impressive performances throughout the season during their conversation with Ten Hag, which led to backlash from some fans on social media who felt the questions were too negative given the context of the win.

However, on The Rest Is Football podcast, Lineker addressed the controversy, saying to Shearer: "People took a bit of umbrage to our questioning and your answer to Erik ten Hag," and explained that the Dutch manager seemed displeased from the beginning, also mentioning an incident with Roy Keane.

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Lineker elaborated on the exchange: "I asked the question, 'Do you think you've been unfairly treated by pundits, and even us?' Obviously, it's our job to be critical on occasion, we have to say what we think. And then he replied saying 'definitely', and then you challenged him didn't you?"

Shearer responded: "Yeah. He's entitled to have a pop back because he's been criticised at times and I think rightly so, because his team have been miles off it. They've been poor. They've had a disastrous season in terms of the league. I don't think any Man Utd fan would argue that. To finish eighth, to finish with the number of goals they've conceded, shots against, it's embarrassing," reports the Mirror.

"So for all of those things we've had to criticise them this season. If we didn't we wouldn't be doing our job. But he's entitled to have the hump with people who he feels are being unfair, but I felt I was well within my rights [to say what I said]."

In the post-cup final interview, an evidently irked Ten Hag accused Lineker and Shearer of "hammering" players and managers, taking issue with the tone of their questioning, and even instructed them to "calm down". Shearer managed to turn a compliment about United's performance at Wembley into a critique of their season-long form, while Lineker queried whether Ten Hag had just overseen his last game for United.

"You are very good here in England to push players and managers very high, and then you hammer them when they have one or two bad performances," Ten Hag remarked. "I think you should be more calm."

One fan on X commented: "I thought the line of questioning by Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer to Erik ten Hag was disrespectful and wrong. Irrespective of his future, he's just won the FA Cup. Focus on the accomplishment. Instead, this was an ambush. He's right to fight back."

Another remarked: "Lineker and Shearer going in on Ten Hag, to his face, after the man has just won an FA Cup. Weirdly combative interview. Give it a rest."

Despite finishing the season in eighth place in the Premier League, their lowest-ever finish, and suffering 19 defeats across all competitions, Manchester United's display in the FA Cup final was nothing short of superb.

The Red Devils took the lead at the half-hour mark when Alejandro Garnacho pounced on a defensive error from Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega to slot the ball into an empty net. Their advantage was doubled shortly afterwards as Kobbie Mainoo converted from close range following a sublime assist from Bruno Fernandes.

Jeremy Doku scored a late consolation for City with just three minutes remaining, but United clung on to secure victory and claim their second major trophy in consecutive years under Ten Hag's guidance.

Before the match, there were rumours that the club was ready to let go of the Dutch manager, regardless of the outcome at Wembley. However, with much of United's gloom now lifted, a change of heart could be possible.

If Ten Hag does depart, potential replacements could include Mauricio Pochettino, Kieran McKenna, Thomas Tuchel and Roberto De Zerbi.