Former Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has questioned Erik ten Hag’s treatment of high-profile players and is yet to be convinced he is the right man to lead the club.
The Dutch coach has tried to implement a more disciplined culture at Old Trafford since taking over the reins, releasing Cristiano Ronaldo after he criticised the club publicly and ostracising Jadon Sancho after the winger claimed he was being made a scapegoat by his manager – and then refused to apologise.
Ten Hag’s hardline stance has divided fans and pundits and now Ibrahimovic has weighed in, saying the former Ajax boss lacks the experience to manage big stars and questioning his approach.
In an interview with Piers Morgan for his TalkTV show, relayed by The Sun, Ibrahimovic said: ‘Coming from Ajax to United as he did is a big difference — I have been in both clubs.
‘You have a different kind of discipline. Ajax is a talented club. They have the best talents in the club. They don’t have big stars.
‘What is the experience of this coach? Young talents, he comes to United, it is a different mentality.
‘The players there are supposed to be big stars. I don’t think you give the same treatment.
‘How much time do you give a coach? It depends on the owners, what they want, but if you listen to the fans, you don’t have a lot of time because they want to win, and I understand them because they are used to winning and they want to still win.’
Reflecting more generally on the current state of United, Ibrahimovic continued: ‘United has to win, they have to win every title they play for.
‘Now they are being dominated by neighbours Manchester City and it’s a totally different situation there.
‘Everybody has a responsibility to fulfil the demands. You need to find the right path again and to push for that.
‘You need a plan, you need a project to follow. It feels like you follow a project plan and then it goes wild in a moment because of the results.
‘Either you believe in it or you don’t believe in it. But with the situation of the coach, I think he is living two different situations now.
‘Then obviously what happened with Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, I don’t know.
‘When things are good, there are still errors and problems, but you don’t see it because we are winning.’