Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag wants Gary Cotterill talks as Sky Sports row escalates

Erik ten Hag is 'happy and satisfied' after victory of Liverpool

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag wants talks with Sky Sports presenter Gary Cotterill after refusing to take questions from him on Friday afternoon, according to reports. The Dutchman was speaking ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Southampton. And he’ll be hoping for a second win on the trot, having seen off Liverpool last time out.

Ten Hag and Cotterill have had an uneasy relationship during the United boss’ brief time in English football.

When the Dutchman watched his team lose 1-0 to Crystal Palace on the final day of last season, he snubbed the Sky Sports man when he tried to request a quick interview.

Cotterill then appeared to react by tweeting ‘karma’ straight after United had been battered 4-0 by Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium two weeks ago.

Yet, on Friday, the United boss showed his tough side by refusing to answer Cotterill’s question.

The Sky Sports man was, according to the Telegraph, previously informed this would be the case – though it didn’t stop him from chancing his luck.

Cotterill was given ‘no explanation’ however, now, Ten Hag wants to see him next week ‘to explain the situation’.

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It’s unclear what will happen, especially given how Sky are one of the biggest companies in football – if not the biggest.

The publication says they ‘pay the majority of a three-year £5.1billion Premier League television deal with BT Sport, Amazon Prime and the BBC’.

And Cotterill himself thinks Ten Hag still harbours a grudge from what happened at Palace on the final day of last season.

“I’m surprised. It was just two people doing their job but I’m assuming he was offended by it,” he said.

“The thing at Palace was him doing his job and not commenting and me doing my job and trying to get a comment.

“I’m only guessing that was the reason. I haven’t been told.

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“You saw what was said but I don’t think it would be too much of a leap to assume it was about that.”

At his press conference on Friday, Ten Hag made some interesting comments as he looks to steer United to a second win on the trot.

One big talking point surrounding the club at present is Harry Maguire, with the England international benched for the 2-1 win over Liverpool on Monday.

And Ten Hag has admitted he can’t guarantee the 29-year-old will remain captain for the long term if he continues to struggle for form.

“First, we have options and as you already said, Varane, his stature is immense,” he said.

“In pre-season, we had to build his physicality, so it was a bit of a slower start, and he was fit in the first games but in the first period of the pre-season, he wasn’t always, so we’re happy we built him in that way.

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“You see that when the team needed him, he was really there and his profile, his stature, what he won in the past shows he can really contribute to this team.

“For the team, there is competition, and you need it, we have to cover so many games and we can do that in several constructions, see from game to game what we need.

“That can be a construction from Liverpool, but also in the second half at Brentford, we played with Varane and Maguire in the centre, so there are many options.

“I forget now about injuries, Victor Lindelof did really well in pre-season so I am happy he will be back on Sunday in the squad, so we will have another option.

“Internally, we have competition and that’s good and I think top teams need that.”

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And he added: “That doesn’t mean when you are captain that you are established to play always, especially not when you also have Varane in your squad.”

Ten hag also proceeded to hail Bruno Fernandes, who skippered United to victory at Liverpool’s expense earlier in the week.

“I’m not looking so far, we are only one game, we have a little group,” he said.

“Harry quite clearly [is in that group], Bruno is one of them and I think Bruno did quite well in his role with the captaincy, he was captain by example.

“He brings so much energy to the team, in and out of possession, so I was really happy with his role and performance.”

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