Sancho or Sergio? Explaining Erik ten Hag’s confusing answer that caused a social media storm

Erik ten Hag's response left a lot of people confused in Monday's press conference.
Erik ten Hag's response left a lot of people confused in Monday's press conference.

Erik ten Hag, unintentionally, caused a brief social media storm on Monday, with his response to a routine question relating to Manchester United’s latest team news.

The Red Devils boss, alongside Diogo Dalot, faced the media ahead of the Champions League encounter against Copenhagen on Tuesday, a match United will almost certainly need to win if they're to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.

The big pre-match update was that Sergio Regullon is back in training and could be an option to face the Danish champions. The on-loan defender hasn’t played since 23 September due to injury and was declared fit on Friday, yet missed out on Saturday’s trip to Sheffield United with an illness.

But in Ten Hag’s response, his pronunciation of ‘Sergio’ sounded more like ‘Sancho’, resulting in several outlets reporting that the winger was once again part of United’s squad and available for selection. Indeed, Sky Sports ran a breaking news ticker stating Sancho was a first-team option for United again after seven weeks away from the team, while countless social media accounts also reported or reposted the news, particularly on X, formerly Twitter.

However, few journalists in the room were certain that Ten Hag had said Sancho’s name, and the club moved quickly after the press conference to clarify the United boss meant ‘Sergio’ rather than ‘Sancho’. It resulted in some quickly deleted tweets and a number of media outlets removing any mentions of Sancho.

“We said it also last Friday, SERGIO got ill for Saturday so he was fit and trained all last week. Yesterday he was a full part back in training,” Ten Hag said.

“Today he will train and then we have to assess if he is fit or if he can be involved in the squad. We have to wait for that. We have to wait to see if he will be fit enough to be part of the squad tomorrow.”

If the 26-year-old is available to start on Tuesday, he could come into the team at left-back, with Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia out through injury. Victor Lindelof has been deployed in that role over the last two games, with Sofyan Amrabat and Diogo Dalot also playing at left full-back.

As for Sancho, he continues to train with the youth team after failing to apologise for his social media post at the beginning of September when he claimed Ten Hag’s accusations that he had underperformed in training were ‘completely untrue’, and stated he’d been ‘made a scapegoat’ by the manager.