Should Manchester United Stick With Erik Ten Hag?
Written By: Natasha Turkington
Natasha Turkington was born and bred in Manchester, and is considered one of the team’s most prolific and knowledgeable fans of the team and soccer. Follow her on Twitter at @natashaturk.
To say it’s a dismal time to be a Manchester United fan this season is an understatement.
Manchester United were well-beaten 4-3 by Bayern Munich on Wednesday night in their opening game of the UEFA Champions League. Despite the close scoreline (one which flattered them), the defeat means Erik ten Hag’s side have now lost four of their first six games in 2023-24, including three in a row.
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Their poor performances have been combined with off-field problems relating to personal issues, with Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho and Antony, along with dressing room leaks has meant there have been more club statements released than there have been goals scored. Grim.
Ten Hag’s already troublesome job is further hampered by nine senior players out with injury woes. As a United fan myself, watching my team depleted on any ‘identity’ is painful.
Scoring three goals away at the Allianz Arena against the blisteringly good Bayern Munich, you would be forgiven for thinking it would result in at least walking away with a point for the group stage.
Manchester United midfield legend Paul Scholes conceded United had done well to score three times against the German champions on their home turf but believes Bayern could have inflicted even more damage on Ten Hag’s under-pressure team.
“There is a weakness to them,” Scholes said. “There is a soft underbelly and they do seem to collapse a bit when things are going wrong. First half I thought they did well but they still conceded two goals through a lack of concentration.”
Scholes added “There is experience in the team but I don’t think it is being used. Concentration in Europe is so important, once you concede one goal, it can turn into two and three.”
Which is exactly what happened.
Are The Players To Blame?
It has been a particularly difficult time for United’s new £47.2million goalkeeper Andre Onana who is under fire with the fans after his calamitous mistake for Bayern Munich’s first goal, a Leroy Sane shot squirmed under his gloves and rolled into the back of his net.
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Onana has now leaked 14 goals in six games since replacing United’s long-term keeper David de Gea.
But this is not all about Onana – he has proved himself to be an excellent, well-rounded goalkeeper for Ajax and Inter, even against Bayern on Wednesday he pulled off multiple fantastic saves.
This is not even all about the dire injure situation, the positional questions around Marcus Rashford or the obvious lack of players’ desire to track back. This is about the self-destructive nature of Manchester United as a football club fed down from the Glazer ownership all the way down to the back-room staff.
Is Ten Hag To Blame?
Can blame be levelled at Ten Hag? Perhaps some. But he is working with a group of players who would struggle to make the cut in any top six EPL team.
So, how will Erik Ten Hag and his team respond to the latest setback and their current position of 13th in the English Premier League? With their next game being Burnley away on Saturday night, who have only managed to secure one point all season, a defeat at Turf Moor would be catastrophic.
Here are the Burnley vs Manchester United odds –
Burnley to win: +320
Manchester United to win: -135
*Odds subject to change
Manchester Unites fans are grumbling in their Old Trafford seats, can Ten Hag turn the ship around? Do you think United will make it through to the Champions League knock-out stages? It’s certainly going to be a nerve-wrecking few weeks for us fans.