Ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea, four journalists were banned from attending Ten Hag’s pre-match briefing off the back of stories they had published describing disharmony in the dressing room.
United claimed it was not the content of the stories that prompted the bans, but a failure to contact the club first so they could ‘comment, challenge or contextualise’ the claims.
Speaking at his emptier-than-usual press conference, Ten Hag – who has allegedly lost the support of half the squad, according to one report – defended United’s stance and rubbished the recent articles written about the team.
On the ban, he said: ‘They should have come to us first and not gone around behind our back printing articles, that is not the right thing.
‘We have a good relationship, they should give it [the story] to us beforehand, we can have a normal and professional discussion and debate about it.’
When it was put to Ten Hag that the journalist ban only added to a sense of ‘disorder’ around the club, the former Ajax manager replied: ‘But not in the dressing room.
‘I don’t know… of course there are a lot of rumours about a strategic review but it is not that we get distracted by it.
‘We are on a journey, a route, we know we are in transition but we are in the right direction.
‘You can see it in how we construct a team, develop the team, how the team is progressing, how young players are coming in and you see the potential how they can contribute to a very successful Manchester United team for the future.’
Asked if he was at all concerned that the stories that prompted the bans were true, Ten Hag added: ‘No, of course there are always in every team players who are not playing who are not as happy.
‘But not different as normal, sometimes you need that, and you have to wait for the chance and that can come, but there are no issues.’
Despite a number of abject performances this season, United are only five points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa and can go back above Newcastle if they beat Chelsea at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.