Ten Hag overlooked Man Utd duo when naming ‘leaders’ after incident

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag overlooked Lisandro Martinez and Scott McTominay when naming some of the club’s leaders earlier in the season despite the duo being two of the most vocal voices. The pair were both active during a dressing room incident last year as they berated teammates following the humiliating 6-3 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad.

Ten Hag has overseen a big improvement at United this season with the Red Devils’ still in with an outside chance of winning four trophies. The Dutchman appears to have installed a better mentality in many of his top stars after years of underperforming under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

The change in attitude has been partly down to the players themselves taking more responsibility something he was keen to stress earlier this season. The 53-year-old named the team’s leaders in addition to captain Harry Maguire and deputy Bruno Fernandes but notably left out both Martinez and McTominay.

“I have many leaders in De Gea, Varane, Eriksen and Shaw,” he said before the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates earlier this year. “I have no worries about leadership and with this team, we beat them the first time and in this team, we have confidence”.

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Martinez and McTominay have both taken on unofficial leadership roles at times this season, especially after the 6-3 defeat to City last October with the players two of the most vocal during the post-match inquest according to The Sun.

It’s claimed some tempers ‘boiled over’ during the ‘frank and heated’ discussions, with a source quoted as saying: “Ten Hag asked each player one-by-one to explain their mistakes to one another. Some players were blaming others for not covering, which led to full-blown arguments.

“One player told another to ‘concentrate on your own (expletive) game’. It all got smoothed over but tensions are high. Ten Hag actively encouraged it. He’s told them he wants to see that level of passion on the field, not after the game has been put to bed.”

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Martinez has remained a key player for Ten Hag since the initial incident, striking up a strong partnership with Raphael Varane in central defence as they become the cornerstones of Ten Hag’s side.

McTominay has found his minutes reduced as the Dutchman makes Casemiro his go-to man in central midfield but he should receive more first-team action in the coming games with the Brazilian serving a three-match suspension.

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