Ten Hag dodges Sancho questions, stresses need for standards at Man Utd
MANCHESTER, England - Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag did not directly address questions on Friday about Jadon Sancho amid the forward's exile from the first-team over a disciplinary issue, but stressed that it was his job to set standards at the Premier League club.
Sancho was omitted from the squad for United's 3-1 loss at Arsenal on Sept. 3, with Ten Hag stating at the time that the England player was left out due to poor training performance.
Following the match, the 23-year-old winger responded to Ten Hag's comments in a lengthy post on X - the social media platform formerly known as Twitter - saying he had been unfairly made a "scapegoat". The post has since been deleted.
On Thursday, United said Sancho will train alone until the resolution of the issue.
"There are different characters and you have to manage those characters. But the team is always above everything else," Ten Hag told reporters ahead of Saturday's game at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.
"Strict lines is what the club asked me (to bring), because there was no good culture before last season. I had to set good standards.
"It is never someone makes one mistake, it is a whole process before you come to a certain outcome about strict lines. There is a structure to cross lines, staff or players, so you have to be strong."
United are also without winger Antony, who said this month he would not immediately return to the club amid assault allegations against him. Antony has denied any wrongdoing.
Asked about when the Brazilian would return, Ten Hag said: "No idea. He's disappointed but he's ok...
"You have sometimes setbacks in seasons, players are injured or for other reasons are not available, so you construct a squad and the squad is very good and the players who are available and motivated to give a good performance," the Dutch manager added.
Ten Hag also defended Harry Maguire, who was mocked by Scotland fans after his own goal in England's 3-1 win at Hampden Park this week, calling on the centre back to proving his doubters wrong.
"I have said many times, it's not respectful. He doesn't deserve it. It's crazy but it's how it works," Ten Hag said.
"If you see his career, it's a great career. He has a lot to come, he has to block it by good performances."
Ten Hag said defenders Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof are both fit, but added that Mason Mount and Raphael Varane would not be available for selection against Brighton.
United are 11th in the standings, three points behind sixth-placed Brighton. - REUTERS