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29th Feb 2024

Gary Neville on the Erik ten Hag comment that made his ‘heart sink a little’

Lee Costello

Gary Neville

I must admit that when I saw it appear yesterday, my heart sank a little.”

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville admits that “his heart sank a little” when he heard Erik ten Hag’s reaction to Jamie Carragher’s analysis.

Carragher did a segment on Monday Night Football where he highlighted United’s weaknesses and pointed the blame at the coaching staff for the player’s tactical incompetence.

Ten Hag hit back at the ex-Liverpool star saying that he was being subjective and biased in his remarks, something which Neville disagrees with.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, the former right-back admits that he wished the United manager hadn’t replied to his colleague’s analysis.

“I must admit that when I saw it appear yesterday, my heart sank a little, from a Manchester United perspective, that he was getting involved in that,” Neville said on the Stick to Football podcast, sponsored by Sky Bet.

“The reality is that he might be secretly or privately annoyed and think there are some points [Carragher] made that are wrong, but [he has to think], ‘We have conceded a lot of chances, I’m not going to win this one, we’ve just lost a game, got a big game against Nottingham Forest, let’s not look like I’m even interested in that.’

“That was my thinking.”

Roy Keane was also on the podcast panel, and he was more understanding to the United boss, and was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“I’d have the mindset, if I came in and someone said that, I’d say Jamie has played the game, he’s entitled to his opinion and leave it at that. We’ve seen loads of managers react to questions,” Keane explained.

When asked by Neville if Ten Hag was “sweating the small stuff”, Keane replied: “He seems to be with that reaction of course, but that’s where the pressure comes. It’s off the back of a poor result, managers do so many press conferences, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. They are getting asked questions and every now and again they will [react].

“We see Pep [Guardiola] sometimes and think he needs to cheer up, but he’s in the zone, these managers are under huge pressure. They are going to react to questions sometimes that we feel are straightforward. He didn’t lose his head, he just said that he disagreed, and he’s entitled to do that.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

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