Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says “everyone is united” at the club despite a poor start to the season.

United suffered a third successive defeat in a 4-3 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek.

They have lost three of their opening five Premier League games in Ten Hag’s second season in charge.

“I know it’s not always only going up. You will have your gaps and you can get stronger from it as long as you stay together,” the Dutchman said.

“That’s what we are doing in the dressing room, with all staff and coaches.

“Everyone is united and, at United, you fight.”

In former Ajax boss Ten Hag’s first season at Old Trafford, United finished third in the league – improving on sixth in the previous campaign – to qualify for the Champions League, while they also won the Carabao Cup.

The 53-year-old bolstered his squad with signings including striker Rasmus Hojlund, midfielder Mason Mount and goalkeeper Andre Onana in the summer.

However, United have struggled at the start of the season, with defeats by Tottenham, Arsenal and Brighton leaving them 13th in the early standings.

Onana, a £47.2m signing from Champions League finalists Inter Milan to replace David de Gea, in particular, has come under scrutiny and insisted he had “let the team down” after his error for Bayern’s first goal on Wednesday.

“It’s about the team and as a team we haven’t been getting results,” Ten Hag said when asked about his goalkeeper.

“Individuals haven’t brought the performance you expect and it’s not only one player but more, including the manager.

“It’s about 11 players doing their job. We attack with 11 and defend with 11, so when one or two don’t do their job then it goes like a pack of cards.”

United’s problems have been exacerbated by off-field issues.

Brazil winger Antony, an £81.3m signing in 2022, has delayed his return to the club following the international break “to address allegations” of assault made against him.

Meanwhile, Jadon Sancho will again be absent from the squad to face Burnley on Saturday (20:00 BST) and continues to train away from the first team until issues with Ten Hag are resolved.

On whether Sancho could depart in the January transfer window, Ten Hag said: “It depends on him.

“For the rest, we are preparing for Burnley and that is our focus. He [Sancho] will not be in the squad.”

The United boss, who recently said there was “no good culture” at the club when he arrived, added: “At United, you have to win every game, so the mentality doesn’t change.

“As always, it’s about how we play against Burnley. There is no easy game, especially against Burnley. We know how intense they play and I must say I like their approach and their adventure. I like the intensity and dynamics. We must play our best.”

Reports have suggested there are also concerns at United surrounding the role of Ten Hag’s agent, Kees Vos, in transfer decisions.

“There can’t be [concerns]. We make very good agreements about it from the start and how we cooperate in that matter,” Ten Hag said.

“For player decisions and transfers it is 50/50, the club represented by John Murtough, and me, so it cannot be any distraction.”