Reporters from Sky Sports News, ESPN, the Manchester Evening News and the Daily Mirror were all barred from attending Tuesday’s media briefing ahead of United’s Premier League game at home to Chelsea.
United said the measures were taken not because of the stories themselves but because the club was not contacted for comment in advance of publication.
“We’re taking action against a number of news organisations today, not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise,” the club said.
“We believe this is an important principle to defend and we hope it can lead to a re-set in the way we work together.”
United received severe criticism for an insipid display in their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United on Saturday, which came after a chaotic 3-3 draw away at Galatasaray that leaves them on the brink of exiting the Champions League.
Ten Hag insisted he still has the backing of his players despite a difficult week and claimed that although “one or two” of his squad had spoken to him about the team’s approach, the majority of the squad were on board with his plans and that performances proved his point.
Asked if he still had the buy-in of the players, Ten Hag said: “Oh yes, I am sure, you can see for instance the comeback against Brentford, the Burnley game, the Fulham game, every time the team is there, showed great character, great determination, resilience, so we are together. You can see you can’t play such great football as we did lately if there is no unity.
“I listen always to my players and I give them always opportunities to tell — if the players have a different opinion of course I will listen. But they haven’t told me. Or maybe one or two, but it is about in general, the majority, they want to play like this: proactive, dynamic, brave — that is what they want.
“You can see the players are behind it because of the performances against Everton [a 3-0 win] and Galatasaray. You see then we are really improving. You see that [Alejandro Garnacho’s goal]? Do you think we can make the goal we did against Everton if the players don’t embrace it? What do you think?”
'We're not happy with Newcastle display'
United had won five of their previous six games in the league but the display at Newcastle — their sixth loss of the league campaign and their tenth in all competitions — provided fresh ammunition for critics. “We are not robots,” Ten Hag said when asked about the team’s performance on Saturday.
“If you play three games in six days, tough games, by the end the fatigue can be an issue. Never an excuse, but it is there. Against Galatasaray, against Everton we played very well. Against Newcastle we were not happy with our performance.”
Ten Hag, who was not asked a question about Chelsea’s visit to Old Trafford, recognised that there was upheaval at United, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to buy a 25 per cent stake in the club, but “not in the dressing room”.
“Of course there are a lot of rumours about strategic review but it’s not that we get distracted from it," he said. "We are on a journey, on the route. We know we are still in transition but we are in the right direction and you see it.”