Manchester United finds itself in the midst of a crisis, having lost four of their first six games in all competitions, and the specter of a dressing room mutiny looms large.
Roy Keane’s longstanding warning that United players may undermine their manager appears to be resurfacing once more. The club’s legendary captain has been a vocal critic of the team’s dressing room dynamics for years, and their Premier League title drought, now entering its 10th year, seems emblematic of their struggles, including persistent leaks from the dressing room targeting their managers.
Keane’s concerns regarding this issue date back to the time of Jose Mourinho’s sacking in 2018, when he accused the players of evading responsibility and “throwing [Mourinho] under the bus.” Keane emphasized that players were hiding behind their manager and agents, often failing to meet their professional standards.
This theme continued when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer succeeded Mourinho. Keane openly criticized the players following a humiliating 6-1 loss to Tottenham in 2020, labeling their performance disgraceful and suggesting that too many players were mere “bluffers” who would ultimately jeopardize Solskjaer’s tenure.
Now, as Erik ten Hag’s team grapples with poor form, Keane’s warnings seem prophetic once again. Manchester Evening News reports that some players have grown frustrated with Ten Hag’s management style, highlighting his perceived favoritism within the squad and his reluctance to single out certain players for criticism.
According to sources within the dressing room, players are unhappy with the perceived discrepancies in Ten Hag’s treatment of squad members. This discontent extends to concerns about Ten Hag’s tactical choices and the impact of Antony’s absence on the team’s performance. It remains to be seen whether Mason Mount will take on the Brazilian’s role on the right wing, despite being initially recruited as a central midfielder.
The recurrence of these issues underscores the enduring challenges within Manchester United’s dressing room, and Keane’s cautions about player-manager relationships appear to have gone unheeded by the club’s leadership. As Ten Hag grapples with the task of revitalizing the team’s season, the specter of dressing room unrest looms large.