Speculation that Erik ten Hag will soon get the sack at Manchester United has seen one of the game’s most highly-rated coaches in Ruben Amorim respond to claims he has been lined up to replace the Dutchman at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are in a truly abhorrent run of form, having lost an astonishing eight of their opening 15 matches this season. With confidence seemingly at an all-time low, it is little wonder to see speculation rising that Manchester United are pondering whether to wield the axe on the under-fire Dutchman.
As it stands, United’s start to the season is their worst since the 1962/63 campaign; a run of results which makes for barren reading and almost makes his job impossible. Perhaps more worrying for Ten Hag was our exclusive report on Thursday revealing several senior United players were questioning their manager’s decision-making, tactics and transfers.
Since that report was filed, several national newspapers have followed up – seemingly briefed by the same source – that all is not well in the camp and that Ten Hag’s treatment of both Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho has caused further ructions in the camp.
It all means that United now face a crucial run of games, with their next three games – away at Fulham, at home to Luton and a Champions League trip to FC Copenhagen sandwiched in-between – nothing less than must-win games. Failure to take maximum points in all three outings could put the Dutchman in a sticky situation for which there may be no escape.
Ruben Amorin cools Man Utd job speculation
As a result, it’s not surprising to see a number of big-name suitors reportedly earmarked as potential successors at Old Trafford. To that end, a report on Thursday suggested United were considering Zinedine Zidane, Roberto De Zerbi and Amorim as would-be targets.
Now the latter of those, Sporting Lisbon coach Amorim, has spoken out on the speculation he could quit the Portuguese giants to take the reins at Old Trafford were the sands of time to run out on Ten Hag.
Speaking after his side’s 4-2 win over Farense in the Portuguese League Cup, Amorim was quick to make clear he was not willing to engage in such conversations.
“This year I’m not going to go back to the same conversation as last year,” he said. “I’m not going to make any kind of comment on these situations.”
Pressed again, Amorim opened up a little more but is adamant that he has not been in discussions with officials from the Premier League giants.
“We don’t know the future, it depends on the results,” he added.
“It has more to do with the general idea of what we need as a team, extra pressure so we don’t hide.
“Regarding the future, I have an idea for the end of the season but I won’t say it now. But the results and the context take us to something different.
“I don’t want to be commenting on these things. I have not been contacted by Manchester United.”
Crucially, Amorim has a very achievable €10m (£8.7m) exit clause in his deal and asked if the situation could change if United triggered it, Amorim explained: “I’m not going to be commenting on that.
“I will respect the contract, everything that is there will be fulfilled.”
Scott McTominay speaks out on Ten Hag sack reports
Claims that Ten Hag could soon face the sack has seen United midfielder Scott McTominay speak out in support of his manager. The Scotland star was one of those players seemingly put up for sale by the club over the summer so the homegrown talent might have a case for feeling slightly aggrieved at his treatment by the Dutchman.
However, McTominay illustrated what a solid pro and club man he is by speaking to the club’s official website in support of his manager.
“There’s more that goes into it when you’re not playing well and you’re not doing so well.
“I know the fans don’t want to hear that, they want to see results and performances and I think they want to see the players smiling and happy.
“It’s not quite happening at the moment, but I’m 100 per cent sure that the manager can put that into practice and it can come off. I’m sure of that.”
Ten Hag has urged his players to stand “shoulder to shoulder” to help them out of their slump and McTominay shares the view that a united dressing room is key to a better run of results.
“Everyone knows that we’re not in our best period at the minute. We have to stick together, that’s the most important thing,” he said.
“Obviously the fans will hear the generic response of ‘we’ve got to stick together’, but it’s true.
“Everyone wants this football club to succeed and we have to pull together and try to be as good with each other as possible in the dressing room to get those results going our way.
“I feel like we’ve got more than enough talent in the changing room to do that and whenever you look at the boys who are playing, but obviously something isn’t quite clicking.
“That’s up to the manager and the players to fix that and I’m 100 per cent confident that we will.”