Erik ten Hag issues defiant response to Man Utd's rumoured interest in Gareth Southgate


Manchester United's Dutch manager Erik ten Hag gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on March 3, 2024.

Erik ten Hag has brushed off the incessant speculation surrounding his future, insisting he ‘doesn’t care’ about talk of being sacked or Manchester United’s rumoured interest in Gareth Southgate.

United have endured a difficult campaign with Ten Hag at the helm, with the club languishing down in sixth place in the Premier League table – 17 points adrift of leaders Arsenal – ahead of their trip to Brentford this weekend.

The Red Devils also suffered their worst ever Champions League exit, finishing rock-bottom of their group with just one win to their name, and crashed out of the Carabao Cup after a dismal fourth-round loss to Newcastle.

With only ten games left of the top-flight campaign, there remain serious question marks over Ten Hag’s future, with the 54-year-old yet to receive a public vote of confidence from United’s new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The Dutchman’s position is likely to rest on United’s success, or otherwise, in securing Champions League football and the team’s progress in this year’s FA Cup.

Recent reports suggested INEOS had identified England head coach Southgate as their primary managerial target should results spiral in the back-end of the season.

And while Southgate, whose Three Lions contract is due to expire in December, has branded the links ‘completely disrespectful’, the rumours are likely to continue as long as United find themselves outside of the Champions League spots.

‘You know when you are working at Manchester United there will always be noise, rumours around the club, the team, the manager and the players,’ Ten Hag said when quizzed on the constant speculation at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

‘But we are focusing on the process and on the team to play better to improve the way of play.

‘I was trained at Ajax and it was similar. When you are working in top football, you get used to it.

‘So we don’t care. Players don’t care. I don’t care. We are together in the boat and we know we have to perform and get the right results.’

United could move to within six points of fourth-placed Aston Villa with victory over Brentford and Ten Hag has been boosted by the impending return of Lisandro Martinez.

The Argentina international has missed United’s last seven matches in all competitions after suffering a medial collateral ligament injury in the side’s 3-0 victory over West Ham.

‘Yes, there is a chance [he will be back in squad],’ Ten Hag responded when asked for an update on Martinez’s fitness.

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