Erik ten Hag suffered the most humiliating defeat of his reign as Manchester United manager on Sunday afternoon as the Red Devils collapsed to a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool in the Premier League.
The first-half of the eager-anticipated content at Anfield was a relatively even affair. The hosts took the lead just before the break through January signing Cody Gakpo, but it looked as though there would be all to play for in the second period.
However, within five minutes of the action resuming after half-time, Liverpool had raced into a 3-0 lead, courtesy of a Darwin Nunez header and a second goal for Gakpo.
The Reds’ whirlwind start to the second-half essentially ended the game as a contest and United swiftly crumbled.
Jurgen Klopp’s men went on to help themselves to four more goals, with Mo Salah grabbing a brace either side of another headed goal from Nunez. Roberto Firmino then rounded off the scoring late on.
It was a hugely embarrassing day for the visitors, who suffered the joint-worst competitive defeat in their history.
Details have now emerged of Ten Hag’s immediate reaction when he spoke to his players in the dressing room after the match. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t impressed.
Throughout his legendary stint as manager of United, Sir Alex Ferguson was famous for giving his men the ‘hairdryer treatment’ whenever their performances slipped.
In his first press conference as boss at Old Trafford in July of last year, Ten Hag joked about Ferguson’s methods, telling members of the media: “I don’t need a hairdryer!”
To be fair, when the Dutchman made that remark, he probably wasn’t expecting his side to get turned over 7-0 by over of their fiercest rivals.
Ten Hag reportedly gave Man Utd stars the ‘hairdryer treatment’ after Anfield defeat
Per a source for The Sun, Ten Hag’s mood was described as the ‘angriest he’s ever been’ following United’s capitulation.
“Ten Hag was livid,” confirmed the source. “After the game he was straight down the tunnel, and as soon as the players got into the changing room he ripped into them.
It was the full hairdryer treatment. He explained he can accept defeat but that the way they’d performed was unprofessional.”
A further report from The Mirror expanded on Ten Hag’s rant.
“He was obviously furious and told them they were lucky to be getting on the team bus back to Old Trafford and not made to travel back with the fans.
“He warned them all that if anything like that happens again, there won’t be another chance for them and they’ll be put in the Under-21s.”
Ten Hag has no plans to strip Bruno Fernandes of Red Devils’ captaincy
One of the United players who came in for the most criticism on Sunday was team captain, Fernandes.
Clips have circulated on social media that fans say show the Portuguese playmaker’s lack of effort during the second half.
Sky Sports’ commentator Gary Neville even suggested that Fernandes was trying to convince Ten Hag to take him off during the later stages of the contest.
On top of that, the player also appeared to push the assistant referee as things went from bad to worse for United.
However, despite the 28-year-old having a day to forget on Merseyside, he looks set to retain the armband.
“Bruno will remain United captain,” insisted The Sun’s source.
“He spoke after the game as well and told his teammates they had to bounce back.
“He made clear there was still so much to play for and the manager believes Bruno is the right man to lead the team.”
When do Man Utd play their next match?
One advantage of United’s packed fixture list is that Ten Hag’s stars won’t have to wait long to get the Liverpool match out of their systems.
The Red Devils host Real Betis in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie on Thursday evening, before returning to Premier League duty by welcoming struggling Southampton on Sunday afternoon.