Manchester United's in-house television channel cancelled a programme intended to analyse the club’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford. The weekly programme, called ‘The Debate’ features two former players and two media figures and looks back on the team’s weekend fixture.
But MUTV cancelled this week’s programme yesterday, claiming a shortage of staff had forced the decision, a move that was greeted with scepticism.
The news follows an embarrassing episode for MUTV last week, featuring former player and regular pundit Lou Macari. He raised concerns about United’s lack of success in the current transfer window, particularly their latest pursuit of Juve’s Adrien Rabiot.
“Clubs spend millions of pounds to put scouts out there all around Europe to keep an eye on players,” said Macari. “No one has made a move for this fella. Why? I’ve got a bad feeling about the guy.”
‘The Debate’ has become one of the cornerstones of the MUTV schedule, but with the show due to air at 6pm yesterday, filming was cancelled in the morning due, according to the club, to staff being in France, filming the pre-season preparations of the women’s squad – although that event will have been scheduled some time ago.
In keeping with most in-house channels, MUTV tries to steer away from controversy. But with conversations often covering general issues beyond the previous game, there may have been concerns that criticisms would have been aimed at the club’s owners, the Glazers.
MUTV’s most explosive moment came in 2005, from an interview that was also dropped, when then captain Roy Keane was critical of his team-mates after a defeat at Middlesbrough – the interview eventually leading to him being axed from Old Trafford by Alex Ferguson.
United players were given yesterday off, a day after Erik ten Hag brought them in for an extra, gruelling training session on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Gary Neville believes if the future of Cristiano Ronaldo is not resolved quickly and their record of recruitment not improved upon United could finish in the bottom half of the table.
“I think there is a massive decision to make on Cristiano Ronaldo, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” he told Sky Sports.
“A few weeks ago, before the season started and before these results, I said the best thing to do was to facilitate a move away for Ronaldo.
“The problem is now, if they lose him there is nothing left in the goalscoring part of the pitch.
“I genuinely think if they don’t bring players in or they bring poor players in and he leaves, I genuinely feel they could finish in the bottom half of the table,” he added. “I think that is a bottom half of the table team. That is a massive statement that may look stupid at the end of the season.
“They are demoralised and shot to pieces, it is really bad in there. They have gone back to default.”
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