Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag sack: Man Utd boss told he ‘will not last’ as Ratcliffe ‘sees’ painful reality of Dutchman’s weaknesses

Erik ten Hag is under pressure of Man Utd sack after defeat to Fulham

Erik ten Hag is under pressure of Man Utd sack

Erik ten Hag has been told he will not survive as Manchester United manager going into next season with Sir Jim Ratcliffe well aware of his major shortfalls and despite the Dutchman’s bold prediction about bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils made solid strides in the Dutchman’s first season as manager, winning the Carabao Cup, reaching the FA Cup final and, crucially, finishing third in the Premier League. However, little has gone as planned for Manchester United this season with Ten Hag seemingly leaping one from crisis to another.

He has now lost 28 of his 100 matches in charge, overseeing a staggering 11 losses in this season’s Premier League campaign alone. To put his record into context, Jose Mourinho only lost 29 of his 144 matches in charge before the axe fell.

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That run of form this season, that also includes an embarrassing early elimination from the Champions League, has seen pressure piling up on Ten Hag and our exclusive update last week claimed the Dutchman was a dead man walking at Old Trafford with many around the club expecting him to depart and several key players giving up on him already.

When the axe falls remains open to debate, though it is widely expected to come in the summer by which time United will know if they have sealed a Champions League return and of the general direction Ten Hag is taking the club.

But having fallen an alarming 11 points behind Aston Villa in fourth, speculation has begun to swirl over a number of high-profile options United could turn to as his replacement.

Ten Hag sack coming at Man Utd as Liverpool old boy makes prediction

Indeed, Zinedine Zidane has been touted as his replacement, though the France great has seemingly ruled out that option to leave minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his incoming sporting director Dan Ashworth pondering a number of other options.

Of those, both Julen Lopetegui and Graham Potter appear best placed to step into the hotseat, with the pair both thought to be highly rated by Ashworth, as he prepares to officially get to work at Old Trafford.

Either way, former Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer reckons a change of manager will be forthcoming this summer, with the former Republic of Ireland international claiming Ratcliffe will not have failed to have seen Ten Hag’s abysmal record against the best sides in the Premier League.

The latest of those setbacks came on Sunday as Manchester City recovered from a goal down to inflict a painful 3-1 defeat on the Red Devils.

After the game, Ten Hag insisted United had played well, followed his gameplan and been unfortunate not to take anything from the game.

With those comments likely to sit well with those in power at United, McAteer is adamant the axe is now due to fall.

United had just 26 per cent possession at the Etihad and managed just three shots on target to illustrate that inferiority against Pep Guardiola’s side.

Analysing those stats, McAteer told beIN Sports: “That’s why you don’t last at the end of the season. I honestly don’t think he’ll be there at the end of the season for next season.

“Jim Ratcliffe will see that [the stats] and it’s just not good enough for a Manchester United team. He did it at Liverpool, now he’s done it at Man City.

“He gets away with it against the lesser teams but against the better sides he just gets found out.”

Ten Hag claims Man Utd played well; can compete with Man City

Despite their struggles in the game, Ten Hag was adamant United still played well at the Etihad, saying: “I think [it was a] good performance from our side.

“We went 1-0 up and [played] according to the plan. We had our moments after it as well, to go for a second one.

“I think we defended very well. But then [there were] two I will say defining moments where we almost make a breakthrough and we conceded the first goal and also the second goal after also a defining moment, when [Alejandro] Garnacho is through on the break.

“So yeah, then you are disappointed. We have to accept it, but it is what it is. But still, I think we had the opportunity to at least get one point, but also a win was possible.”

Ten Hag also denies United are lagging behind City in terms of quality.

“No, I don’t think so, absolutely not,” he said.

“You can see we have many problems with injuries and still we had an opportunity. Really small margins. I will not say it was a tackle from Kyle Walker. They both ran and Rashy confirmed to me there was contact and I have seen it back – was very soft. But when you are in a full-speed run and you get a little touch and then you are out of control.”

 

‘United can still quality for Champions League’

Ten Hag added: “We could have scored the second goal in a debatable moment [but] we had the moment of the reckless action of the goalkeeper of City and after that attack we conceded.

“It’s not that big [a margin] and when we have everyone on board, we can be competitive. We showed in the Cup final against them when it was really close [losing 2-1, last May] but City, is in this moment, the best team in the world. Don’t forget this.”

Ten Hag also believes United can still qualify for the Champions League, with fifth potentially getting in there next season.

“It can be a quick turnaround,” Ten Hag said. “We go to another final (against Everton next Saturday) and try to get closer. We have to go for it. We have to win our games.

“Fifth position can also be a position for Champions League so we have to fight for it. This year on we are really progressing and you have to get some points back. Everyone can beat everyone.”

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