Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been told he is a dead man walking in the Old Trafford hotseat and that it is only a matter of time before the axe falls on his reign.
The Red Devils enjoyed an excellent first season under the Dutchman, finishing third in the Premier League, winning the Carabao Cup and reaching the FA Cup final. However, Manchester United are suffering badly in their second season under his control and appear to be leaping from one catastrophe to another.
And while their Premier League form has showed a marked upturn since the start of November – United have won four of their last five games in the competition to edge up the table – they have still lost an alarming nine times in a total of 20 matches they have played in all competitions this season.
Losing a staggering 45% of their games so far this season is clearly a record not good enough for a club like Man Utd. And with the club bottom of their Champions League group, with just one win from five matches, they need a victory in their last outing against Bayern Munich and hope the game between Copenhagen and Galatasaray ends in a draw as three points for either will send them through regardless of United’s result.
It all adds up for uncomfortable viewing for Ten Hag, who has found his job come under serious scrutiny this season.
Indeed, he was told after Wednesday’s costly 3-3 draw with Galatasaray that his decision to continually pick “liability” Andre Onana will ultimately cost him his job.
United must wait until Tuesday 12 December to learn their European fate.
Ten Hag told by former Liverpool defender to expect Man Utd sack
In the meantime, they face three Premier League games before then, at Newcastle on Saturday evening, at home to Chelsea on December 6 and away to Bournemouth on December 9.
And according to former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique, Ten Hag looks, in his eyes, the Premier League manager most in danger of losing his job right now.
And, speaking to Grosvenor Sport, the Spaniard also has a gloomy prediction over United’s prospects of finishing in the top four this season.
“Manchester United had a good game against Everton the other day, that is true,” Enrique began. “However, that is just one result and when you look at the team and how much money the club has spent since Erik ten Hag arrived, I still don’t see a team that can finish in the top four.
“They only got in the top four last year because other teams were poor, but now Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa are all there challenging for it. I don’t think United will finish in the top four this season and should that be the case, I think they will sack Ten Hag.
“When I look at all the other big-name managers in the league, Ten Hag still stands out to me as the one who will be sacked first.”
Tough night in store for Ten Hag and Man Utd at Newcastle
United tackle another of Enrique’s former sides in Newcastle on Saturday evening in what will likely be a fired-up St James’ Park.
And Enrique reckons Eddie Howe’s side can claim a win that will pile even more pressure on Ten Hag’s shoulders – and take that defeat percentage ratio up to an alarming 50%.
Enrique added: “I think Newcastle will beat Manchester United on Saturday. What could work in United’s favour is that Newcastle are struggling to maintain their intensity whilst playing midweek as well, but the game is at St James’ Park, which is always a huge boost and the atmosphere alone will make it very tough for United.
“I also believe that Newcastle will finish above United at the end of the season,” he said. “It’s tough to be certain in saying that because United are the bigger club overall – it will be a lot more dramatic if they miss out on the top four compared to if Newcastle missed out simply because of the size of Manchester United.”
Talking about the difference in pressure between the two managers, Enrique concluded: “United are a club that need to finish in the top four because they need to be competing in the Champions League for Ten Hag to continue. I don’t think Eddie Howe is in the same situation at Newcastle.”
Newcastle have won six and lost one (to Liverpool) of their seven Premier League games at home so far this season.
The Red Devils, meanwhile, have four wins and two defeats on their travels so far this term.