Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Roy Keane tears into Man Utd trio who can’t execute Ten Hag gameplan and leave Dutchman facing sack

Roy Keane has hit out at a Man Utd trio letting Erik ten Hag down

Roy Keane has hit out at a Man Utd trio letting Erik ten Hag down

Roy Keane has suggested Erik ten Hag finds his position as Manchester United manager being undermined by three big-name players who cannot follow his orders and can’t help impose the style of play he wants to implement at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman enjoyed a progessive first season at the helm at Manchester United, helping them win the Carabao Cup, reach the FA Cup final and, most crucially of all, finish third in the Premier League to seal a return to the Champions League. However, the club have seemingly lurched from one crisis to another this season, crashing out of the Champions League with a whimper and having also suffered an alarming 10 defeats already in the Premier League.

As a result, they go into Sunday’s Premier League derby against Manchester City needing a big result and to try and close that 11-point gap on Aston Villa in fourth.

In turn, that has seen the pressure stacked up over Ten Hag‘s future with the Dutchman seemingly facing a huge battle to retain his services and sources informing TEAMtalk that many inside Old Trafford already see the United boss as a deadman walking.

DON’T MISSThree ways Ten Hag can miraculously avoid Man Utd sack, as Ratcliffe prepares to swing the axe

As far as possible replacements go, Zinedine Zidane has found himself strongly linked with the potential vacancy over the course of the last week, though it’s reported the iconic French manager would swiftly reject an approach.

Furthermore, incoming new sporting director Dan Ashworth reportedly has his own contender in mind to take on the hotseat if indeed the axe falls on Ten Hag come the end of the season.

Roy Keane names Man Utd trio who can’t execute Man Utd gameplan

Clearly a major improvement is needed if Ten Hag is to retain his role for next season. And with United’s frailties badly exposed in their last Premier League game at home to Fulham, the last thing they probably need is a date against Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering City.

Either way, former United skipper Keane feels Ten Hag has not been able to truly impose his style and tactics at United due to the personnel at his disposal, and having named three players who don’t allow the Red Devils to press in the way he’d want them to.

Indeed, he claims those struggles start from the back, with Harry Maguire’s abilities meaning United are ‘frightened to death’ of trying to squeeze high up the pitch and the England man’s apparent lack of pace.

“They aren’t pressing up,” Keane said on The Overlap’s Stick to Football show.

“I don’t want to be just pinning it on [Harry] Maguire, but there’s always that worry with Maguire coming up and squeezing the pitch, like all the other top teams are doing.

“There’s that worry with him all the time – that’s where there is gaps. They are frightened to death to come all the way up because they’re thinking, ‘anything over the top, he’d be in trouble’.”

Man Utd don’t have the players, says Keane 

Keane also feels the same lack of pressing is evident higher up the field with captain Bruno Fernandes  -who has come in for heavy criticism from the Irishman before – and Marcus Rashford also guilty of a lack of intensity off the ball.

“Manchester United haven’t got the players to [press],” Keane added.

“Fernandes is not going to do it. Rashford won’t do it.

“They might do it for five or 10  minutes, so if you’ve got a team that’s not going to press – we’re talking about leopards and spots.

“Man Utd are never really going to be good at that pressing side of it.”

After City, United then face a televised game against Everton next Saturday lunchtime, before they tackle Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Old Trafford for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals on 17 March in a game that has suddenly taken on increased importance for Ten Hag and his future.

READ MOREMan Utd doomed as even Saudi clubs snub flop’s drastically reduced asking price; future ‘hinges heavily on Ten Hag’