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Andre Onana and Erik ten Hag have both leapt to the defence of Alejandro Garnacho after the Football Association opened an investigation into a social media post from the Manchester United winger.
Garnacho posted an image of Onana celebrating his penalty save against Kobenhavn with the caption of two gorilla emojis, but eventually deleted the post.
The FA have opened an investigation and contacted Garnacho over the post, but Onana himself took to social media to laugh off claims that the 19-year-old had any racist intentions.
“People cannot choose what I should be offended by,” Onana wrote on Instagram. “I know exactly what [Garnacho] meant: power and strength. This matter should go no further.”
Ten Hag was asked about the investigation during Friday’s press conference, and while he had no updates to offer, he stressed that Garnacho’s intentions were clearly innocent.
“We are talking with the FA, what you see, I can confirm that and I want to emphasise we are together, we are united, you saw that with the post of Andre,” he said.
In 2020, United saw then-striker Edinson Cavani handed a three-match ban for a social media post to a friend which featured the Spanish term “negrito”, which translates literally as “little black boy” but is used colloquially in certain Spanish-speaking cultures as a term of endearment.
That ban came one year after Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva served a one-game suspension for a post which compared teammate Benjamin Mendy to a black cartoon character, with the FA handing out the reduced punishment after accepting Silva’s claim that he did not mean any offence.
Garnacho could face a similar punishment if he is found to have breached the rules on social media posts, which would come as a blow to Ten Hag as he seeks to get his forward line firing again.
Ten Hag remains without Jadon Sancho after the England international took to social media to question his manager’s treatment, with a January exit for Sancho now on the cards.
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