Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag sack: Rio Ferdinand names Man Utd boss’ biggest failure as Ratcliffe is told to fix three major problems

Rio Ferdinand has highlighted Erik ten Hag's biggest mistake since he became Manchester United manager

Rio Ferdinand has highlighted Erik ten Hag's biggest mistake since he became Manchester United manager

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag finds himself under serious pressure of the sack for a failure to implement one thing at Old Trafford, according to Rio Ferdinand, who has delivered a brutal verdict on the Dutchman and also challenged Sir Jim Ratcliffe with overseeing three major fixes to ensure success returns to the club.

It’s been a bumpy old season for the Red Devils and the Dutchman in particular, who has found himself lurching from one crisis to another and with Manchester United on track to record their lowest-ever points tally ever produced in the Premier League. Currently on 54 points and with a negative goals difference, United must win both their remaining games to ensure they do not fall below the nadir of 58 they set in the 2021/22 campaign just before Ten Hag arrived.

Currently in eighth, the Red Devils are in serious danger of missing out on European football altogether next season if they don’t win both their last two games.

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And while they can still salvage something from the wreckage of their season in the FA Cup final, few would expect them to see off Manchester City at Wembley given the two clubs’ polarized form right now.

As a result, it’s not a surprise to see Ten Hag facing strong calls for his removal as manager come the season’s end, with the club’s recently-appointed technical director Jason Wilcox currently undertaking a thorough audit of the Dutchman’s abilities to continue into the role for a third season.

Indeed, there is a growing school of thought that even success in the cup final will not spare him from the sack, meaning United’s supporters could not be witnessing the very last days of the Dutchman’s reign.

Support for Ten Hag from Man Utd legends Keane and Rooney

Despite that, Ten Hag recently received some much-needed support from two club legends in Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney, who both believe he deserves the chance to remain in charge.

“I hope he’s given more time,” Keane told Sky Sports when asked if United should sack the Dutchman.

“He’s an experienced manager,” the Irishman then explained. “(It’s) certainly not easy getting interviewed after the game where the stats for this team are so bad, in terms of the record defeats, where they are in the table, their struggles in Europe…

“Yeah they have a cup final coming up in a few weeks, it’s a tough interview. He’s trying to stay positive, tough questions he has been asked about the players behind him, is he tactically up to it.

“I would like to think so. I think there has been genuine problems at the club, the injuries, he’s pretty honest with that side of it. But the more games you are losing and when you are eighth in the table, I suppose you end up losing that belief.”

Rooney then added: “Some of the injured Manchester United players are fit to play!”

When asked about Ten Hag’s future, Rooney, who is the club’s all-time top goalscorer with 253 goals ,added: “When you’re losing games in the way they’re losing games, there’s going to be big questions asked.

“I think the players have to look at themselves, when you’ve got a manager talking about attitudes and players not being right to play for Manchester United, that’s a massive insult. If I see my manager saying that, there’s no way I would let that ride and ride until the end of the season.

“I would personally hope they do give him [Ten Hag] time, there are a lot of problems with recruitment, it hasn’t been good for a few years.”

Ten Hag sack: Rio Ferdinand names his biggest Man Utd failure

And while a number of candidates have been tipped to take charge – and former Liverpool star Jason McAteer has claimed he has been told by a Man Utd player who the squad thinks will be the next boss – Ten Hag is adamant he remains the right man at the helm.

Ferdinand certainly has some sympathy but has scolded Ten Hag for a failure to implement a clear playing style at Old Trafford and he feels that could be the biggest single factor that leads to his removal as manager.

“He’s right about one thing: they’ve got a lot of injuries. A huge amount of injuries. Centre-back partnerships, I think they’ve had the most changes that I can remember,” Ferdinand said on the The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X.

“But the point you made about making it hard for ourselves… Arsenal have taken six points off us this season and that shows how far we’ve fallen.

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“If we just like, ‘Oh, we’re just trying to make it difficult for the teams that are fighting for the league’, and we’re just an also-ran from the sidelines, just cheerleaders, that’s not where United expect to be or have been for years.

“But I’m of the mind that it does happen in cycles, there are cycles in this game, and you’ve just got to accept sometimes that we are in our cycle of mediocrity or even below at this moment in time.

“But it’s about how you then change it. It’s taken 30 years for Liverpool to win a Premier League or an elite title. Hopefully we don’t take that long but you’ve got to look at the examples around.

“Manchester City have come out the wilderness, Liverpool have come out of their problem, Arsenal are seemingly coming out of their problem now.

“We’ve got to learn from those and take the good parts and elements of those clubs and try and get ourselves back on track.”

Legend reveals Ten Hag’s biggest failure at Man Utd

Ferdinand is also unsure on whether Ten Hag is the right man to carry on, saying it would come as no surprise were the axe to fall and after claiming his failure to implement a clear playing style since taking over from Ralf Rangnick in summer 2022 remains his biggest failure so far.

“As a manager, is he the right man? I don’t know. But in any industry, if you lose your best components and you’ve got to go to war without your best components, you are going to find it very difficult,” the 81-times capped former England defender added.

“My only real criticism of him really, I would say, is that, regardless of injuries, you normally see a style of football that you can identify with that manager and his team.

“And you think he’s coaching all these players every day. Just because the quality might drop, your style of football will still be there or thereabouts to be able to see and recognise.

“I just feel that we’ve got no style of play where I’m looking at it and going, ‘Okay, when the players come back I can see them all jumping back into that style of football and we will be a problem for teams’.”

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Ratcliffe told three fixes he needs at Man Utd

Ferdinand also feels new minority shareholder Ratcliffe needs to fix three major issues if he is to bring the good times back to Old Trafford.

First up, Ferdinand wants to see an improvement in the training levels of United’s first-team squad, while he has also called for a better atmosphere to be created at both their Carrington training complex and inside the changing room at Old Trafford.

He told his Vibe with Five podcast: “That’s one of the things I think the club has got to look at, what’s going on behind the scenes?

“The training, the way the players are around the place [and] what’s the atmosphere like in the changing rooms and [around] the training ground?

“Because there’s a lot to be said for that.

“If it ain’t right around the training ground, invariably it ain’t gonna be right on the pitch.”

Ten Hag has currently overseen 111 matches in charge of Manchester United, winning 63 of them to give him a 56.76 win percentage record.