Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag: How Man Utd boss compares to Klopp, Arteta after two seasons after avoiding sack

Erik ten Hag's record at Manchester United has been compared to Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp

Erik ten Hag's record at Manchester United has been compared to Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp

Manchester United have decided to keep Erik ten Hag as their manager – and a detailed look at how his stats compare to Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp in their first two seasons at Arsenal and Liverpool, respectively, back up their decision.

The Dutchman’s future was in serious doubt after undergoing a rollercoaster of emotions over an incredibly inconsistent 2023/24 season. Having seen Manchester United crash out of the Champions League and European football altogether before Christmas, they then went on to to suffer the ignominy of their worst-ever Premier League campaign, suffering 14 losses in total before ultimately finishing in eighth place.

Quite remarkably, though, Ten Hag did manage to rally his troops and they upset the form book in FA Cup final as they deservedly beat Manchester City 2-1 at Wembley to claim a second trophy of the Dutchman’s era and at the same time deny Pep Guardiola’s side the chance at winning the double Double.

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Their achievement in winning the cup final was even more remarkable given Ten Hag had gone into the game with strong reports claiming he would be sacked by United regardless of the final result at Wembley.

However, United showed a steely determination on the day to not only carry out Ten Hag’s gameplan to a tee, but also by illustrating that they can both obey their manager and compete against the very best for him when required.

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As a result, those reported plans to show Ten Hag the door have not come to light as expected and the United boss has now been given a show of faith after the club failed to convince Mauricio Pochettino or Thomas Tuchel to replace him.

Regardless, their handling of the situation has not been good with one outspoken pundit trolling United for the way they have handled the Ten Hag saga, branding them “embarrassing, indecisive, unprofessional, disrespectful, and completely out of touch”.

Furthermore, United have now been told that ‘most United fans want to see what a third season under Ten Hag would look like’ with the 54-year-old having been backed to continue in his role.

In addition, and in the wake of winning the FA Cup, both Roy Keane and Gary Neville urged United to let the Dutchman fulfil his contract – which is currently due to expire in summer 2025, though United do have the option of another year on top of that – before passing judgement on his reign.

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To that end, there is now a growing belief that, in actual fact, Ten Hag has been damaged by certain players refusing to pull their weight together with a strong wave of criticism from within the media at the job he has done – something Ten Hag himself was quick to attest to in the build-up to the cup final.

“The pundits in England want to score, they want to show they are worth the money, and for that Manchester United is an easy prey,” Ten Hag stated.

“It’s the biggest club in England and possibly in the world. The club is either loved or hated, there is no in-between.”

How does Ten Hag compare to Arteta and Klopp after first two seasons

It’s fair to say, that Ten Hag does have a point and a dive into the Dutchman’s record over his first two seasons at the helm points to the fact that United could have been making a serious mistake if they did part ways with him at this stage.

Indeed, much-more heralded peers Arteta at Arsenal and the recently departed Klopp at Liverpool prove Ten Hag can not only match their achievements, but generally speaking surpasses both their records at the helm over their opening two full seasons in charge.

So how do the three men compare?

Both Arteta and Ten Hag took charge of 86 matches over their first two years at the helm, while Klopp had 99 games, owing to Liverpool’s lengthier involvement in European competitions.

And it is Ten Hag who has the upper hand, winning 53 of those matches, compared to 47 for Arteta and 50 for Klopp.

In that same period, Ten Hag has drawn nine times, while Arteta has 16 ties to his name and Klopp 21.

It is Arteta who boasts the fewest losses though with just 23, compared to 25 for Ten Hag and 28 for Klopp.

However, a look at the points per game column illustrates Ten Hag as the leader of the trio, claiming an average of 1.95 per game, versus 1.83 for Arteta and 1.8 for Klopp.

And crucially, Ten Hag also has the edge in the trophies won column with the FA Cup making him joint most successful United boss, alongside Jose Mourinho, since Sir Alex Ferguson walked away in 2013.

 

Erik ten Hag, Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp stats

Erik ten Hag, Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp’s stats for their first two seasons

Those two trophy wins are one more than Arteta managed (though the Arsenal triumph in the Community Shield has been discounted as we’re not classing it as a major trophy).

Klopp, meanwhile, props up the rear, failing to win any silverware in his two years at the helm and in fact, having to wait for his fourth season in charge before he picked up his first trophy – albeit a significant one – in the 2019 Champions League final.

However, the fact that Klopp took those four years to mould his squad into trophy winners, while leaving Merseyside a hero, perhaps shows that Ten Hag is on track to surpass the German if given the right tools and the right time. With a proper structure in place above and around him, the 54-year-old could yet make significant strides further forward in the 2024/25 campaign.

On reflection of these stats – and granted there have been serious off days like 4-0 losses at Palace and 3-0 home defeats to Bournemouth – it’s safe to say Ten Hag deserves a little more time before judgement is passed.