Erik ten Hag has been warned he has just three games to save himself from the Manchester United sack amid fresh reports that the Dutchman has lost the backing of 50% of the dressing room.
With Manchester United already having lost 10 of the 21 matches played this season, Sky Sports reported on Monday evening that their players were tired of the Dutchman’s tactics – though this was something TEAMtalk exclusively first reported on at the start of November.
With the club’s best players failing to perform at their best, the situation does not look good for Ten Hag, who has appeared to leap from crisis to crisis over the course of this season. And while United officials have said nothing in public, there appeared an acceptance that he would be allowed to get on with matters for now.
However, the latest report from Sky Sports certainly paints a different picture with chief reporter Karveh Solhekol stating: “Some of the players are confused about what is happening and he [Ten Hag] has lost elements of the dressing room. About 50% of the dressing room.
“Quite a few players are unhappy with the style of play. They feel they are training too hard and they are running too much during training. Players don’t know what they’re running for.
“A few players think he’s too set in his ways, he’s too robotic. And quite a few players are unhappy with the way Jadon Sancho has been treated and feel it’s gone too far.”
That treatment of Sancho, however, is just the tip of the iceberg, with senior stars also unhappy with not just results but also with his training methods and tactics.
Ten Hag told Man Utd sack is three games away
Ten losses from 21 games is bleak by any side’s standards, but more so at Manchester United where expectations are consistently high.
The statistics are damning, with the club recording their worst start to a season in 51 years – way back in 1962/63.
To that end, it seems there appears little room for error for Ten Hag as he fights desperately to not just save this season, but also his job.
Gary Neville lit the blue touch paper over the weekend when he admitted he was “bored” of watching his own side.
Now it seems the end could come even sooner for Ten Hag with the Daily Mirror predicting he has three matches to save his job.
First up, United face Chelsea at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, before they face another home game – against Bournemouth – on Saturday.
Ten Hag will be expected to win both those matches, and while their next match – against Bayern Munich in the Champions League – looks a good degree tougher – failure to win in that will see the club crash out of the Champions League at the first hurdle.
And with those three losses from their opening five games so far the core root of the problem, Paul Merson does not think Ten Hag will still be in charge by the time the Liverpool game rolls around on Sunday December 17.
Man Utd labelled ’embarrassing’ under Ten Hag
“If they lose to Chelsea, Bournemouth, and Bayern, I don’t see how Ten Hag keeps his job,” Merson wrote in his predictions columns for Sportskeeda. “I do think they’ll beat Bournemouth, however, and they could do well against a Bayern Munich side that has already qualified for the Round of 16.”
Merson continued: “Chelsea haven’t been great defensively, and Man United are all over the place. They let in three goals against Galatasaray and could’ve conceded ten against Newcastle.”
Merson reckons Wednesday night will end in a 3-3 draw, but was quick to highlight their performance at Newcastle, claiming it was ‘one of the most one-sided matches he’s ever seen’.
“I thought it was embarrassing,” Merson added. “I was shocked by the way United played and the lack of effort they put in.”
Ten Hag, for his part, insists he will battle on and was showing real determination when questioned on Saturday evening.
“We have to put this right,” the Red Devils boss stated.
“I know we are resilient. We can do that. Several weeks ago, we lost to [Manchester] City and then we had a good run [in the Premier League], so we have to get back to a good run.”
Alan Shearer expects Sir Jim Ratcliffe to sack Ten Hag
BBC pundit Alan Shearer is also adamant that Ten Hag cannot continue in the United hotseat and reckons the sack could come quickly once the 25% purchase of the club by Sir Jim Ratcliffe goes through.
Shearer said on The Rest is Football Podcast: “Normally when new ownership comes in, a lot of the time that means a new manager. Whenever that’s after a week or three or four weeks, it normally means a change is there.
“They have [kept sacking managers] and look where they are now! Whether they’ll do that again remains to be seen.
“But clearly there’s, you don’t have to be a genius to work it out, clearly there’s an issue in that dressing room. You can see when the arms go up when it’s not my fault and players try to send a reaction to their own fans to say ‘This is not my fault’.
“And as soon as that happens, you just know that there’s an issue in the dressing room. And that happened too many times on Saturday.”
Man Utd accused of wasting transfer money
Shearer is also adamant that there is no quick fix to United’s problems.
“I don’t see [major improvement] happening anytime soon. It’s a long-term job, it’s been a long-term job already.
“They haven’t been where they want to be for a number of years now. And eventually what happens is that it comes down onto the pitch and that’s been there for a while.
“The money that they’ve spent, some of the players that they’ve spent money on, Antony and [Jadon] Sancho… when you look at [Marcus] Rashford’s performance on Saturday it looked as if he didn’t want to be there at all.
“You’ve spent £70m on Sancho, you’ve spent £80m on Antony and they can’t get in the team for whatever reason. That sort of sums it up at Manchester United for me.”