Ten Hag defends Man Utd for ‘taking advantage’ of ‘curious incident’ in Newcastle draw

Erik ten Hag has defended his Man Utd stars after the club were charged by the FA with failing to control their players in the draw versus Newcastle.

United were made to settle for a point over the weekend as they drew 0-0 at Old Trafford against Newcastle United.

The club’s players approached referee Craig Pawson after he disallowed a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pawson ruled that Nick Pope had not taken a free-kick before Ronaldo nicked the ball and converted into an empty net.

The forward believed that Fabian Schar had rolled the ball to Pope before he took possession. He was booked by Pawson and United have now been charged by the FA.

Ten Hag refused to “judge” the referee after the final whistle. He has now reacted after the club were charged with failing to control their players.

“I don’t think it was too strong but I don’t know what’s happening exactly on the pitch as it’s too far away for me on the pitch,” Ten Hag told reporters (via Manchester Evening News).

“I’ve seen the video, there was a touch from the player from Newcastle that’s quite clear and they wanted to point that to the referee.

“First of all, I want to express we always accept the referees’ decision but it’s also quite normal to ask why in the moment, it was a curious incident, you ask as a team why.

“But finally and quite clear you have to accept it. Then you have to move on. You are right we are the example for amateurs and youth, quite clear.

“We have to know our role but it’s also about professional football so when it’s a decision like this, and it was quite obvious a player touched the ball from Newcastle, our players took advantage of it to ask why.”

Man Utd are back in action on Wednesday night as they host Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.

Ahead of this game, Ten Hag has confirmed that Anthony Martial is not ready to return yet.

“Anthony Martial is not available,” Ten Hag said. “He’s back on the pitch but not in the team training.

“Christian Eriksen returned in the team training today and we have to see how that works out, how he will recover, if he has the energy tomorrow, so we have to wait for that.”

On Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek, he added: “[They are] making good progress all and they will return to team training this week.”

When asked about Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe, Ten Hag answered: “I see good progress from Brandon.

“He returned on the pitch, individual base. Axel is still working inside, he is not back on the pitch, I think it will be difficult for Axel to return before Christmas.

“Brandon maybe not be in the squad for the games but probably team training.”

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