Worrying concerns have been raised over Erik ten Hag after Manchester United were told they have no hope of winning the Premier League title under him – and would actually be better off with a Liverpool icon at the helm instead.
The Red Devils were last crowned champions of England back in 2013 during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year at the helm. Since then, a string of top coaches have taken charge at Old Trafford in a bid to reclaim their place at the summit. However, despite the likes of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ralf Rangnick and now Ten Hag all having a go, the best they have mustured is two second-placed finishes under Mourinho (2017/18) and Solskjaer (2020/21).
At the same time, United have had to sit back and watch noisy neighbours Manchester City rise to greatness under the astute leadership of Pep Guardiola. And to make matters worse for United, City’s main rivals have been their most-despised rivals of all in Liverpool, who themselves won back-to-back Champions League and Premier League crowns under Jurgen Klopp.
In the intervening years since Ferguson’s retirement, United have won the Europa League, the FA Cup, and the Carabao Cup twice. And while the Champions League and the Premier League are the main trophies they crave, United have never really sustained a challenge for either.
To that end, Gary Neville has launched a ferocious attack on the club’s ‘toxic’ owners the Glazers in the wake of claims they were stalling on the sale of Manchester United.
However, pundit Simon Jordan insists the buck at United starts and ends with the manager.
Ten Hag not good enough to lead Man Utd to Premier League title
And the former Crystal Palace chairman feels Ten Hag, despite being was a three-time title winner with previous club Ajax, does not have the charisma or abilities to lead Man Utd back to the summit of English football.
Furthermore, he feels Ten Hag is not “best in class” and that they would have fared far better with someone like Liverpool boss Klopp in charge.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Jordan said: “Ten Hag is a decent manager with not insignificant achievements in the Netherlands but I don’t think he exudes the authority required of a man capable of leading United out of the desert they find themselves in, let alone the Herculean effort required to triumph over the imperious Pep Guardiola across the city.
“Is Ten Hag the best in class? I would argue no. I certainly can’t see him ending the club’s title drought. What United really need is someone like Jurgen Klopp, someone capable of embracing it all, shouldering the huge responsibility of managing such a massive club and delivering success.
“Someone who can harness the spirit and energy of the club from previous glories and set standards and outcomes reminiscent of yesteryears. Does that sound like Ten Hag? I don’t think so.”
Man Utd title hopes this season already look bleak
The new season is only four games old, but with two losses to their name -at Tottenham and Arsenal – Jordan suggests there is already a feeling United are out of the title race.
And in their two wins so far – against Wolves and Nottingham Forest – they have also looked far from convincing. They were indeed fortunate to take the win from a gutsy Wolves side, while against the Tricky Trees, they found themselves 2-0 down after just five minutes before showing character to win 3-2.
As such, Jordan does not see their title drought ending any time soon, though did sound a note of caution.
“Then again, it took four years for Ferguson and Klopp to win their first trophies in England so perhaps Ten Hag will prove me wrong if he is afforded such time to win the biggest prizes,” he added.
“But we’re four games into the new season and he’s already in deflection mode. The best managers, the ones that ultimately achieve things, don’t call players out in public. If they do, it is usually because they are floundering and haven’t got the answers.
“Time will tell if Ten Hag does but if he doesn’t, it’s not because the Glazers own Manchester United. No matter what Mr Neville would have you believe.”