ERIK TEN HAG has blasted his ‘unacceptable’ Manchester United flops for their derby hammering.
The furious Dutchman admitted they were so bad he spared Cristiano Ronaldo the humiliation of continuing as a substitute.
Ten Hag came close to calling the first-half performance that put Manchester City 4-0 ahead as cowardly.
But the Red Devils boss said: “It’s simple, it’s a lack of faith.
“We weren’t brave enough, made tactical mistakes and then got hit.
“If you don’t believe that on the pitch, you can’t win games, that’s unacceptable.”
Ten Hag replaced Marcus Rashford with Anthony Martial in the 59th minute and the French striker scored twice in the 6-3 defeat.
The Old Trafford boss claimed not to have snubbed Ronaldo but said it was to protect him on a day when United fans were leaving in droves before half-time.
He said: “I wouldn’t bring him in out of respect for Cristiano – because of his great career.
“And the other was the advantage I was able to bring to Martial, he needs the minutes.
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“But I don’t want to emphasize that.”
But Ten Hag’s decision only underscored how chaotic United were – as Erling Haaland clinched his third straight Etihad hat-trick and Phil Foden also notched a treble.
He said: “I told the players [they] Can’t believe I’ve seen some highlights.
“We let them play. We have to criticize each other and I didn’t really get the message to the players, the belief in the pitch, our way of playing. This is disappointing.”
United had won four straight games after a 4-0 disgrace at Brentford but Ten Hag admitted old bad habits had returned against City.
He added: “In the last four games we’ve brought that attitude to the pitch, a strong conviction. Here it was the other way around.
“It is normal in our process that we have setbacks.
“We have to learn from it, but clearly point it out.
“We can walk away from it, but if we do that, it won’t find the solution, so we will.”
United midfielder Christian Eriksen supported his boss, saying: “Everyone feels it’s been a very bad day at the office.
“We lacked a bit of courage to play from behind and we let them at their strength.
“There are many things we need to change and many things we need to do better. That was anything but acceptable.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6350782/ten-hag-ronaldo-bench-man-utd/ Man Utd so bad Erik ten Hag admits he kept Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench to face red in 6-3 demolition derby vs City