Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag defended his players after they confronted the referee during Sunday’s goalless draw against Newcastle United, saying the reaction was not too strong despite the Football Association charging the club.
The FA accused United on Tuesday of failing to control their players, who surrounded referee Craig Pawson after he disallowed a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo claimed that Newcastle had taken a free kick before running to take the ball from goalkeeper Nick Pope and into an empty goal, but Pawson canceled the effort and booked the Portuguese striker as he directed the players’ reaction.
“I have to say I don’t think he was too strong, he wasn’t really aggressive, but I don’t know what exactly is going on on the pitch, he was too far away,” Ten Hag told reporters against United hosts Tottenham Hotspur on February 11th. Wednesday.
🧠 “You have to protect the players as a coach to get the best out of them, not only from the risk of injury, but also to keep them in the right shape until the end of the season,” says Erik. 🔄#MUFC || #MUNTOT
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 18, 2022
“I saw it on the video… It was quite obvious that the player touched the Newcastle ball and our players took advantage of it.”
The incident was one of many involving match officials who were confronted in the top flight at the weekend, with the FA also charging Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp with misconduct for his outburst with an assistant referee.
Ten Hag said his players are role models for amateur and youth players, but as professionals, they should be allowed to question referees’ decisions.
“We are an example for fans, for young people, for professional players. We have to know our role and it is also about professional football,” added Ten Hag. “It’s also quite normal for you to ask why in the moment.
“My point of view is that pretty quickly you have to accept the referee’s decision and move on.”
Ten Hag added that Anthony Martial will not be available to face Tottenham, but Christian Eriksen has returned to training and is ready to play against his former club.
United are fifth in the league with 16 points from nine games, while Spurs are third, tied on 23 points with Manchester City after 10 games.