Cole – Ten Hag should demand 'who is with me and who is against me?'

Erik ten Hag should demand ‘who is with me and who is against me?’ at Man United, says Joe Cole, as he calls Scott McTominay a player he can ‘trust’ over more ‘quality’ players

  • Joe Cole thinks Erik ten Hag must work out who he can and cannot count on
  • He said that certain players may want the Dutchman gone for their own interests
  • CHRIS SUTTON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a CLOWN – It’s All Kicking Off 

Joe Cole has challenged Erik ten Hag to throw down the gauntlet at Manchester United and ask who stands with him. 

The former Premier League winner said Ten Hag should prioritise players with the right ‘character’ rather than quality.

He pointed to Scott McTominay as a trustworthy individual, even if he is ‘not’ a ‘better player than Bruno Fernandes or Casemiro’. 

‘If I was Erik Ten Hag and had a situation where my job was on the line I would want to know, ‘Who is with me and who is against me,’ Cole told Mail Sport ahead of United’s Champions League trip to Copenhagen.

‘I’d identify the characters, not necessarily the quality of players, who are with me. Like Scott McTominay. Is he a better player than Bruno Fernandes or even Casemiro? Possibly not. But you have got to get a result – I would go with the players who are with me and the staff.

Erik ten Hag must work out who is with him and prioritise character over quality, says Joe Cole

Cole told Mail Sport that he admires Ten Hag’s discipline but that some players will want him gone out of self-interest

He said Scott McTominay, while ‘possibly not’ on the same level as team-mates, is trustworthy

‘You have to pick up on things. It might be a glance, it might be the body language, or their air in training. I would say, ‘You lot, get to the side – this is my Manchester United!’ 

‘If he wants to be a success, he needs to identify the players he can trust – and they might not be the best players. But he needs to identify the players who are going to sweat blood and tears to get a result.’

Ten Hag’s men know that against Copenhagen a win is needed to try and lift them above Galatasaray in Group A, as they currently sit a point behind the Turkish champions and lost to them at Old Trafford. 

McTominay has emerged as an unlikely hero, cropping up with crucial goals – he has scored three in ten games this season, two of which came in injury time to overturn the result at Brentford. 

Cole praised Ten Hag’s disciplinarian approach to dealing with difficult situations, such as the one with Cristiano Ronaldo last season.

That said, Cole told also told Mail Sport that he believed ‘both parties’ needed to budge in the Jadon Sancho saga.

United have had a challenging start to the season, losing eight of their 16 games, but battled to a gritty 1-0 win at Fulham over the weekend. 

The atmosphere at Copenhagen has been called 100x more than intense than Old Trafford

Bruno Fernandes scored a last-gasp winner against Fulham and Cole said United are good at ‘nicking a result when they need one’ 

It took a stoppage-time winner from captain Bruno Fernandes to seal the points, and Cole praised the team’s fighting spirit but also believes that there are some self-interested characters. 

Cole added: ‘There will be players sitting there thinking, “If he goes, this might be good for me”. That’s the truth. 

‘Erik Ten Hag has been very strong on a lot of situations and I admire him for that. We only have the information we have – we don’t know the situation with Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho. But once he makes a decision he sticks with it. I admire that about him. 

‘But now he is in a situation where he needs the lads to produce a performance for him. You could not be confident on Manchester United winning. But they have pulled it out before, this group of players. They seem to nick a result whenever they need one.’

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