Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, stated on Friday that the entire squad supports Alejandro Garnacho amidst potential consequences for a social media post in which he used gorilla emojis.
The 19-year-old shared a photo on X, previously known as Twitter, depicting United players celebrating with Andre Onana, the Cameroon international, after their recent 1-0 victory against Copenhagen in the Champions League. The post featured the controversial emojis.
Although the post was swiftly deleted, Onana, who had made a crucial penalty save during the match, defended his teammate, explaining that the intention behind the emojis was to symbolize “power and strength.” Onana firmly believes that the matter should not be escalated any further.
However, the Football Association has taken disciplinary action against players in the past for making racial references on social media and it is understood that they are seeking Garnacho’s explanation.
Former Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani was previously banned for three games and fined £100,000 in 2020 for using the Spanish term “negrito” (small black person) in a comment below an Instagram post.
Similarly, in the previous year, Bernardo Silva received a one-match ban and a fine from the FA for a tweet in which he compared his teammate Benjamin Mendy to a black cartoon character.
Ten Hag appeared relatively unconcerned about the situation during a press conference on Friday, stating, “Not concerned about a ban at this moment. We are in communication with the FA.”
He further added, “But what you see and I can confirm that and I want to emphasize, we are together, we are United, and we have seen that in Andre Onana’s post.”
Manchester United is currently preparing to face their rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday after a series of unconvincing victories in all competitions against Brentford, Sheffield United, and Copenhagen. A significantly improved performance will be necessary for them to pose a challenge to Pep Guardiola’s men.
Despite two Premier League losses this season, Manchester City currently sits in second place in the table, six points ahead of eighth-placed Manchester United.
Ten Hag described the upcoming match as an “enormous” derby, stating, “It’s so huge because it’s Manchester, internal. But I think it’s also about world football, and all eyes will be on this game globally.”
“In this moment, they’re six points ahead, we’re six points behind, so we have to catch up. We know we have to progress as a team.”
The midfield battle is expected to be crucial, and Ten Hag expressed concerns about the potential absence of Casemiro for a third consecutive match due to an ankle injury sustained while on duty with the Brazilian national team.
“Aaron Wan-Bissaka is back in training today, and Casemiro’s availability is a race against the clock,” Ten Hag revealed. “No, it’s not 100 percent.”