Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag told Man Utd sack ‘hinges on new sporting director’ but player ‘lethargy’ is killing him

Erik ten Hag, Man Utd manager, during pre-season friendly - Manchester United v Rayo Vallecano - Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag may not be at immediate risk of the Manchester United sack, according to Robbie Savage, who has explained what needs to happen first before the Dutchman is relieved of his duties at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman’s position in charge of Manchester United is once again dominating headlines in the wake of Saturday’s poor 1-0 defeat at Newcastle. While the scoreline was an obvious disappointment, it was the efforts – or lack of – from his players that are arguably far more damaging.

And with TEAMtalk revealing that a number of their disillusioned stars are frustrated by his ‘old-school’ training methods and are imploring incoming new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe to swing the axe, it may not be long before Ten Hag is removed from his role after over 18 months at the helm.

United next face Chelsea at Old Trafford on Wednesday, before hosting Bournemouth on Saturday and then a crunch UCL clash against Bayern Munich. Per widespread reports, Ten Hag could be gone if results don’t go United’s way.

However, Planet Sport ambassador Savage feels the Dutchman could have more time than that to get things right and feels nothing will happen until the Red Devils sort out their senior management levels first, including the appointment of a new sporting director.

“I don’t think anything can happen in terms of the management structure whilst there is still speculation around Sir Jim Ratcliffe going into Manchester United,” Savage said. “A decision can’t be made until they get a new sporting director in who can then decide on a process.”

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Savage accepts Man Utd have suffered under Ten Hag

The former Wales international continued: “I don’t think any decision can be made until things are sorted out higher up in the club. Nothing can happen in terms of a managerial change until the hierarchy have got the right people in place.”

Savage, however, does accept that result and performances have not been good enough and believes the next run of games will be a tall order for Ten Hag to turn matters around.

“To fail to win against Galatasaray having been 2-0 and 3-1 up is not good enough. They haven’t been good enough in the Champions League and now they’re in a position where they have to beat Bayern Munich and results have to go their way in the game between Galatasaray and Copenhagen. Beating Bayern Munich is going to be very difficult. They’ve also got games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa coming up which won’t be easy.”

Savage also feels there is something of a lethargy that has set in among the players, which does not bode well.

“I don’t think the club can make any decisions about the manager until the structure of the club is in place. Getting a new sporting director in is fundamental, then a decision will have to be made. Manchester United have to win football matches and the main thing for me at the moment is the body language. There is a lethargy within the team at the moment,” he stressed.

“Against Galatasaray I thought every player gave everything, but they looked like a completely different team against Newcastle at the weekend. The main problem is the body language and a lot of ex-United players are picking up on it saying that they’re good going forward, but you have to be willing to sprint back.”

United struggles highlight player unhappiness

Savage accepts the scrutiny at Manchester United is more severe because of the size of the club and the money spent on players.

And when it is not going well, those factors are put even more under the microscope with Jamie Carragher recently tearing into Marcus Rashford and claiming his attitude resembles that of a £56.7m United flop.

Savage agrees with that stance, though believes the struggles are highlighted more simply because it is United.

“When you’re at United and you’re not winning games, things are highlighted. There was a picture blown up of Anthony Martial throwing his hands in the air at Ten Hag, that happens every week at every club but it’s highlighted because it’s United.

“Rashford was rightly taken off but now people are zooming in on him sat on the bench and trying to lip read what he is saying.

“But every player that comes off will be annoyed, but these things are now being highlighted because it’s United and they are on a poor run.”

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