Manchester United faced a trip to St. James’ Park which was marred by evident friction between manager Erik ten Hag and player Anthony Martial during Saturday’s clash against Newcastle United.
Fresh from a disappointing 3-3 draw with Galatasaray in the Champions League, United found themselves in a precarious position, languishing at the bottom of Group A with only four points, facing potential elimination from the tournament.
Ten Hag opted for significant changes, bringing in Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to replace Antony and Rasmus Hojlund from the midweek lineup. However, it was Martial who seemed to irk the Dutch coach during the first half.
Reports from Samuel Luckhust of the Manchester Evening News detailed an on-field confrontation between Ten Hag and Martial, where gestures and exchanged words indicated visible frustration between the two.
Dwight Yorke, a former United striker and Bein SPORTS pundit, expressed bewilderment over Martial’s lackluster performance, stating, “27 years-old and playing for your career. I’m scratching my head why his [Martial] energy levels are so low.”
Despite Martial’s recent league goal against Everton, his role as a backup to Hojlund, who arrived from Atalanta in the summer, seems uncertain. Martial’s contract, set to expire next summer, suggests a likely departure after a nine-year stint at Old Trafford.
On the pitch, Manchester United struggled to assert themselves in the first half, with Newcastle dictating play and creating several goal-scoring opportunities. Andre Onana’s saves denied chances for Anthony Gordon and Miguel Almiron, while Kieran Trippier’s free-kick rattled the crossbar, highlighting United’s defensive vulnerabilities.