Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag sack: Under-fire Man Utd boss takes astonishing dig at fans and fires brutal dart at pundits

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag branded the response to his side's victory over Coventry "embarrassing" and a "disgrace"

Erik ten Hag looks to have sealed the final nail in his Manchester United coffin after aiming an extraordinary blast at supporters for their “no sense of reality”, while also strongly condemning the pundits who he has accused of ‘criticising him to make themselves look better’ and making his job almost impossible.

The Dutchman enjoyed a progresssive first season at the helm, leading Manchester United to two cup finals – winning the Carabao Cup – and most crucially, a third-placed finish in the Premier League. However, little has gone right in his second season at the helm, with Ten Hag overseeing a disaster of a campaign that saw the Red Devils embarrassed in the Champions League before finishing eighth in the Premier League.

That represents their lowest-ever finish in the Premier League era, while they have also suffered a record number of defeats – 14 – along the way.

In addition, the 84 goals they have conceded in all competitions is the most in a single season since 1976/77.

DON’T MISS 👉 Next Man Utd manager: EVERY single option tipped to replace doomed Ten Hag

Those damning statistics tell you all you need to know about Ten Hag and why he is a man under intense pressure heading into Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Indeed, it was reported on Friday that, irrespective of how they fare in Saturday’s game at Wembley against Manchester City, the Dutchman will be sacked by Sir Jim Ratcliffe regardless of whether they manage to upset the formbook and lift the famous old trophy.

To that end, this huge report has revealed the four reasons why Ten Hag will fall on his sword, as well as the young, progressive coach who now believes the job is his for the taking.

Ten Hag sack: Dutchman goes down swinging with almighty pop at fans

A look, however, at the statistics shows that Ten Hag, while results have been poor this season, still has United in fourth place over a two-year Premier League table – behind Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Despite that, the Dutchman has, in general, held himself well and answered questions on his future with consummate professionalism, despite what the intense pressure on his shoulders.

However, it seems that build-up needed a release somewhere and it has finally come on FA Cup final day, with Ten using an interview with Dutch outlet VI to let all his frustrations out, and with a strong message to the club’s supporters, claiming supporters’ expectations were too high for the realities of their situation.

“Manchester United won the league for the last time in 2013, 11 years ago,” Ten Hag told journalist Freek Jansen. “But still they expect us to win every game while competing at the top.

“This club is not ready for that.

“‘We were supposed to start building something and we made the first steps last year, but then you find out how big this club is and that nobody is ever satisfied.

“Within the club people were satisfied, but outside the club there was noise by saying I won only the Carabao Cup, lost the FA Cup final and only came third.”

Hitting back at supporters, Ten Hag then reasoned they “have no sense of reality” because “other clubs have a much better squad”.

Ten Hag was then asked about his thoughts on the 2023/24 season overall, conceding: “Let me be clear. It has been bad. It has been c***.”

But, the manager insisted: “Despite everything, we are going to play an FA Cup final.”

Ten Hag blames pundits for Man Utd struggles

Ten Hag’s failures this season have come in for widespread criticism and it is fair to say that every defeat is analysed intensively by those in the media.

The likes of Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane – all former United players – have voiced their opinions on their struggles this season.

Now the Dutchman has taken aim at those pundits, suggesting the club are seen as an easy target and the belligerance of those pundits has had a negative impact on both their form and in his apparent downfall.

HAVE YOU SEEN? 👉 Man Utd reach new level of ‘toxic’ for Ten Hag sack timing, following ‘disgusting’ McKenna decision

“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 added.

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

“So when things go bad, they all start talking and talking with very big words. All this negativity from these so called experts who don’t have the capability to analyse something with facts, but who prefer to attack people to make themselves look better.

“And these same people were the ones who gave me a pat on the back last year. Last year I was able to walk on water, this year I am the worst manager in the Premier League.”

Ten Hag still making plans for next season with Man Utd

Despite that, Ten Hag is still hopeful he will remain in charge at United going into next season; making clear he would love to bring in a new striker to strengthen his options in attack, as well as setting the club some other goals too.

“We need to sign an extra striker in the summer,” Ten Hag said of team strengthening wishes, before adding: “And if we can sign another central midfielder and a replacement for [Raphael] Varane, things will look good again.

“If the team remains fit we can try and aim for top four again.”

Ten Hag also concedes that Ratcliffe and Co “want to change everything”, and is adamant “they want to rebuild with me at the helm”.

“This is what they told me directly,” he stressed. “INEOS will change things in the club and certain projects have already started. Carrington will get be completely destroyed, a new training ground will come.”

Since taking charge at United in summer 2022, Ten Hag has overseen 113 games, winning 65 of them and giving him a 57.72 win percetage record.