Manchester United have banned a string of high-profile journalists from attending Erik ten Hag’s press conference on Tuesday.
Sky Sports chief reporter Kaveh Solekhol, the Manchester Evening News’ chief Manchester United correspondent Samuel Luckhurst, The Mirror’s David McDonnell and Rob Dawson of ESPN have all been blocked from joining this afternoon’s press conference.
The MEN claims the order has come from Andrew Ward, United’s communications director, over their coverage of the club’s dismal start to the new season.
United confirmed the club had ‘taken action against several news organisations not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise’.
‘We believe this is an important principle to defend and we hope it can lead to a re-set in the way we work together,’ the club added.
Several major news outlets have been banned from attending Erik ten Hag’s press conference
United will not allow either Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol (left) or the MEN’s chief United correspondent Samuel Luckhurst to attend Tuesday’s press conference
ESPN’s Rob Dawson is among the other journalists banned by United for their reporting
It is not clear whether the ban is just for today’s press conference, with Ten Hag due to address the media at 12:30pm, or for all future briefings with the manager until further notice.
Several outlets this week have reported that United’s stars are losing faith in Ten Hag amid the club’s dismal showing so far this season.
The MEN reported on Tuesday that several senior players have been left startled at the quality of signings made by the Dutch manager, including £72million Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund, £60m Mason Mount and Antony, who joined from Ajax for £82m.
The paper also said Ten Hag had been forced to axe his favoured ‘didn’t follow the rules’ phrase he often uses in post-match press conferences to describe his team’s performances.
Ten Hag finds himself under renewed scrutiny following Saturday’s abject performance at Newcastle, where they suffered their 10th defeat of the season, and facing discord in the dressing room.
The 53-year-old desperately needs to bounce back from the Newcastle defeat at home to Chelsea on Wednesday and Bournemouth on Saturday amid growing unrest in the camp, although United fans are still behind the manager and plan to voice their support for him when they host the Blues tomorrow night.
The ban was put in place by United’s communications director Andrew Ward
A number of senior players are said to be questioning Ten Hag’s approach and tactics. Some believe they have been made to train too hard this season while others feel the manager is too authoritarian.
Mail Sport’s Chris Sutton believes, however, that United’s protracted malaise is ‘far bigger’ than the manager.
‘He has players in that dressing room who are snakes as far as I am concerned,’ Sutton said on Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off podcast.
United have previously attempted to prevent reporters from their press conferences.
Last month another newspaper was unable to send reporters to a briefing with Ten Hag after they wrote the manager was ‘on thin ice’.
One infamous example came in 2011, when former manager Sir Alex Ferguson was caught telling a press officer to ban then Associated Press journalist Rob Harris after he asked a question about Ryan Giggs.