Manchester United have barred four top reporters from covering Erik ten Hag's press conference over what they perceive ‘not fair coverage’ of the club amid the Red Devils’ poor form
Manchester United have banned a string of high-profile journalists from attending Erik ten Hag's press conference on Tuesday.
Sky Sports chief reporter Kaveh Solekhol, the Manchester Evening News' (MEN) chief United correspondent Samuel Luckhurst, The Mirror's David McDonnell and Rob Dawson of ESPN have all been refused entry to this afternoon's press conference.
The order has come from Andrew Ward, United's communications director, over their outlets' coverage of the club's dismal start to the season.
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United confirmed they had "taken action against several news organisations not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise."
“We believe this is an important principle to defend and we hope it can lead to a re-set in the way we work together,” the club added.
It is not clear whether the ban is just for Tuesday's press conference or for all future briefings with the manager until further notice.
According to the MEN, Ward, who joined the club in 2019, has previously stopped reporters from putting questions to Ten Hag because of perceived negative coverage.
Several outlets this week have reported that United's stars are losing faith in Ten Hag amid the club's dismal showing so far this season.
United have already lost 10 matches despite an outlay of more than £180m in the summer transfer window, although they have been dealing with injuries to several key players.
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The MEN reported on Tuesday that several senior players have been left startled at the poor quality of signings made by the Dutch manager, including £72 million Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund, £60m Mason Mount and Antony, who joined from Ajax for £82m. They insist the story was 'well-sourced'.
The paper also said Ten Hag had been forced to axe his favoured 'didn't follow the rules' phrase he often uses in post-match press conferences to describe his team's performances.
Ten Hag finds himself under renewed scrutiny following Saturday's abject performance at Newcastle, and facing discord in the dressing room.
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The 53-year-old desperately needs to bounce back from the Newcastle United defeat at home to Chelsea on Wednesday and Bournemouth on Saturday amid growing unrest in the camp, although United fans are still behind the manager and plan to voice their support for him when they host the Blues on Wednesday night.
A number of senior players are said to be questioning Ten Hag's approach and tactics. Some believe they have been made to train too hard this season while others feel the manager is too authoritarian.