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Ten Hag sack: Paul Scholes claims Man Utd a ‘graveyard’ for managers as he delivers stunning verdict on axing Dutchman

Erik ten Hag is under more pressure at Man Utd after defeat to FC Copenhagen

Erik ten Hag is under more pressure at Man Utd

Paul Scholes has delivered his definitive verdict on the growing Erik ten Hag sack debate at Manchester United in the wake of Wednesday evening’s controversial 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen.

The Dutchman’s second season at the helm is going from bad to worse after their third Champions League loss in four matches this season left them at the bottom of Group A and staring down the barrel of an early exit from European competition altogether. Manchester United had been leading 2-0 and 3-2 at Parken Stadium before ultimately falling to defeat, though the loss was not without controversy.

However, it also means United have conceded an alarming 11 goals in their four UCL matches to date. It also the club’s ninth defeat in 17 games this season. And the last time they suffered that many defeats so early in a campaign was back in 1973/74 – when the club was relegated from the old Division One.

As a result, pressure on Ten Hag’s shoulders is growing by the day and the talk that the Dutchman faces the sack is refusing to die down.

Indeed, our explosive exclusive last week suggested Ten Hag had lost the support of a number of senior players, who were questioning his tactics, substitutions and transfer choices.

Worse was to come too, with incoming new Man Utd minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe also reportedly questioning the future of Ten Hag and seemingly having his eyes on Roberto De Zerbi as a potential successor.

And with a former Premier League manager also reportedly waiting in the wings for the axe to fall, it has also been deemed ‘impossible’ for United to try appointing another boss they reportedly admire in the form of Aston Villa gaffer Unai Emery.

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However, despite the club’s struggles, it was claimed earlier this week that Sir Alex Ferguson remains very much behind Ten Hag and believes he remains the right man to turn the tide around.

And with the Dutchman too delivering a rousing speech, insisting the club were united and ready to fight to turn their fortunes around, it suggests Ten Hag will be given plenty of opportunity to steady the ship in the games and weeks ahead.

Now Scholes has insisted that United must stand by the Dutchman despite his admission that Old Trafford has become a graveyard for managers, particularly in their second season at the helm.

“I still don’t think there is that much pressure on him,” Scholes stated on TNT Sports.

“He had a good year and I think he has bought himself a little bit of time in that respect. He’s had a few injuries, but nine defeats in 17 games is not good enough.

“All of those managers have been sacked in that second or third year, but I don’t think we can afford to do that anymore. I think we have got to let this fella go with it, he’s been good up until this point.

” He’s a little bit unlucky tonight you have to say that. They will play a lot better teams than Copenhagen but I thought there was a little bit of fight there – but they are lacking that leadership.”

TNT Sports pundit gets to the bottom of Ten Hag problems

Assessing where it has gone wrong, Scholes continued: “It has become a graveyard for managers, especially in that second season.

“You think of the manager before that struggled in that second season and we all felt like last season they were getting back somewhere.

“I think he adjusted well last season. This season he started trying to play out and play beautiful football like he did at Ajax, but he quickly realised that these players were not good enough at it.

“He went a bit more direct, relied on counter-attacks and relied on players scoring goals. He has lost that from Marcus Rashford because he’s in a bad vein of form, and this season he’s finding it difficult to find balance in the team.

“He brought Mason Mount, he started the season as a starting holding midfield player, but the balance of the team is all wrong. They seem to be too wide open in the middle of the pitch, and I don’t see anything that will fix that at this moment in time.”

United have also lost a number of senior stars through injury this season with Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Casemiro and Raphael Varane all having time on the sidelines.

“He’s the manager of the football team so ultimately he has to take responsibility for the performances and where they are,” Scholes added. “It has been difficult for so many players because they are out of form. Sometimes you just can’t legislate for that.

“How can he pick a settled back four? We saw Varane against Galatasaray and he was all over the place, so you’re thinking, ‘If I can’t rely on someone like him, or even Casemiro who has been a little bit loose’.

“These are two players who have won five European cups, if he can’t rely on those players, where do I go? He’s gone back to Jonny Evans who is a free transfer. It’s the manager’s responsibility.”

Man Utd problem position nailed by TNT Sports pundit

United also lost Marcus Rashford to a first-half red card, with Ten Hag claiming the decision was tough to take.

“It was a a very harsh decision, he was going for the ball,” the Dutchman commented. “I thought the review was over and then he went to the screen. So I think the referee wasn’t sure.”

Rashford will now be absent for their next trip to face Galatasaray, though UEFA could decide to upgrade the decision to two games if they feel he was guilty of violent conduct.

The absence of Rashford, however, will be the least of Ten Hag’s concerns, though, according to Scholes.

And the pundit claims Ten Hag is struggling to decide on his best three options in there, with that indecision causing uncertainty in the player as he identified before kick-off.

Getting the balance right will be key to an upturn in their fortunes, according to Scholes, who commented: “The midfield worries me tonight – they are wide open in there.

“I think (Christian) Eriksen has to play because he is the brains of the team, he’s the one that can control play and see a pass.

“(Scott) McTominay worries me though because that is not his best position. I think he’s a runner, can contribute goals, I just don’t think the personnel is in there to cope with this Copenhagen team which is a worry.”

United are next in action on Saturday against Luton Town, which Scholes claims will now “be a worry” for their players and a game they will potentially go into feeling “scared”.

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