A high profile figure in the British media has blamed Erik ten Hag for the 3-2 Man Utd defeat to Arsenal, claiming the “arrogant” Dutchman got what he deserved after a suspect piece of transfer business.
The Red Devils and Gunners squared off at the Emirates on Sunday in a match that could prove pivotal in the final reckoning.
A late Eddie Nketiah winner secured the spoils for Arsenal to re-establish their five-point gap to Man City. Mikel Arteta’s side also have a game in hand over the reigning champions.
United, meanwhile, saw the gap to Arsenal extend to 11. Any faint title hopes they’d built up through a superb recent run of form have likely been dashed.
The fall-out has already begun, with Man Utd legend Roy Keane scathing in his post-match review. Four United players in particular came under the Irishman’s brutal gaze.
Ten Hag too took a dim view of the defeat. He branded the many mistakes his side made “unacceptable” and admitted the result was something of a reality check.
Man Utd reaping what they sow after Ronaldo, Weghorst moves
However, according to British media personality Piers Morgan, the Man Utd defeat was exactly what they deserved following their inability to adequately replace Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tweeting after the match, Morgan – who is a die-hard Arsenal fan – wrote: “Congrats Man Utd – that’s what happens when you hire an arrogant coach who disrespects Cristiano so badly he leaves – and then replaces him with someone I’ve never heard of who sounds like an Austrian sausage.”
Morgan was the interviewer when Ronaldo effectively ended his United career on TalkTV. Ronaldo and Morgan are close acquaintances and the 57-year-old had been one of Ronaldo’s highest profile backers throughout his tumultuous last six months in Manchester.
Burnley loanee Wout Weghorst was the man Ten Hag ultimately settled on as his Ronaldo replacement. The club had strong interest in Cody Gakpo and Joao Felix, though a restricted budget made those two deals unworkable.
Weghorst has started both of United’s matches since arriving and the club have failed to win either. Aside from their Arsenal defeat, they were also held by Crystal Palace in midweek following a late Michael Olise equaliser.
However, it’d be unfair to say Weghorst is hindering United more than he’s helping, as Morgan is seemingly suggesting. What’s more, United’s form with Ronaldo in the eleven was far worse than without.
Furthermore, United’s budgetary limitations meant only a short-term and lesser profile signing could be made. If that approach ensures Ten Hag is able to fully pursue a bigger name in the summer – such as Harry Kane, Victor Osimhen or Dusan Vlahovic – then his decision will be vindicated.
Ten Hag has got far more right than wrong since taking the reins and the common consensus among those in the media is United are better off without the Portuguese icon.
As such, it appears to be a simple case of Morgan stirring the pot – as he is often prone to doing.