Pundit Richard Keys has escalated his verbal assault on Erik ten Hag following the Manchester United manager’s criticism of the Premier League fixture calendar.
The Dutchman’s team moved up to fourth place in the rankings after defeating Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial. The victory, though, was overshadowed by leading scorer Marcus Rashford walking off late in the game with an apparent groin issue.
Following their setback at Newcastle last Sunday, United defeated Brentford on Wednesday night and will face Seville in the first leg of their Europa League quarter final on Thursday. And, following their victory over the relegation-threatened Toffees, their Dutch manager lamented their busy season.
When asked about his knock, Rashford told beIN Sports, “Some things you can’t avoid, but it was avoidable.” Why is the Premier League scheduling a late Sunday night game and an early Saturday game? It doesn’t seem right to me.
“You take a risk because players can’t recover that quickly; we know from research that players need a certain amount of time to recover, and it adds up.” As a result, you put yourself in even more danger. It’s also part of the plan that we’ve ended up in this scenario, and all we can do now is hope he doesn’t drop off.”
But former Sky Sports broadcaster Keys was having none of it, and in the latest in a string of accusations directed at the ex-Ajax man, said: “Erik, as far as scheduling and injuries are concerned, it’s the English Premier League.” If you don’t like it, there’s always the Eredivisie to go to and ply your trade.”
United fans, on the other hand, will be unsurprised by the outcry. Keys has made no secret of his affections for ten Hag, whom he first dubbed ‘Ten months’ in reference to how long he would remain in his current position. After the Red Devils were thrashed by Liverpool last month, he changed his name to’seven hag,’ and he has regularly implied that the 53-year-old is overrated.
Wout Wieghorst, who joined the club on loan in January, was also derided by Keys, 65. After United beat Leicester 3-0 in February, he said fielding the Dutch striker was essentially futile.
“You’re playing with ten men most weeks if he’s [Weghorst] in,” ranted Keys. “I mean, he doesn’t do enough to justify a starting place does he? Come on, let’s be honest!”