Jadon Sancho hit back at claims by Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag that he was dropped for the team’s Premier League defeat at Arsenal for poor training performances, saying he has been “made a scapegoat.”
Sancho, 23, was left out of the match day squad for the trip to the Emirates, which United lost 3-1, and Ten Hag said after the game that the winger had failed to measure up to standards in training this week.
“On his performance on training we didn’t select him,” Ten Hag said when asked about Sancho’s absence from the squad. “You have to reach the level every day at Manchester United. You can make choices in the front line, so in this game he wasn’t selected.”
But within an hour of Ten Hag’s comments in the postmatch news conference, Sancho issued a statement on X to reject claims he said were “completely untrue.”
“Please don’t believe everything you read! I will not allow people saying things that is completely untrue,” Sancho posted. “I have conducted myself in training very well this week.
“I believe there are other reasons for this matter that I won’t get into, I’ve been a scapegoat for a long time which isn’t fair!”
Sancho added, “All I want to do is to play football with a smile on my face and contribute to my team.”
Goals in stoppage time from Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus sealed a dramatic win for Arsenal and consigned United to the second defeat of the season following their 2-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur on Aug. 19.
After saying postmatch that midfielder Scott McTominay had missed the game because of illness, Ten Hag said Sancho, who was sent to the Netherlands to train separately from the squad last season, was left in Manchester after failing to impress in training last week.
Without Sancho, United had performed well and looked set to earn a 1-1 draw until Rice and Jesus scored their late goals.
But in a game dominated by high-profile VAR decisions — Arsenal had a penalty ruled out by the VAR before Alejandro Garnacho’s 90th-minute goal was chalked off following an offside review — Ten Hag said that his side was on the wrong side of big calls made by the officials.
“The [Arsenal] penalty was given but rejected, but [Kai Havertz] was not booked for it,” Ten Hag said. “There was a foul on [Rasmus] Hojlund in the penalty area, not even noticed by VAR. And the disallowed goal from Garnacho, it was the wrong angle, I think it was onside. Arsenal’s second goal — how can they allow that goal? It was a clear foul on Jonny Evans.
“I think we deserved to win this game, but you don’t always get what you deserve. I look more at how we step up and if you see from the Wolves game to this game, there is big progression. Tonight was a team, I am really happy with this performance and the progress of our performance.
“We did well, we make progress, stick to the plan and believe and in the future we will win games like this.”
POST AUTHOR: Mark Ogden