Erik Ten Hag: Why Manchester United Shouldn’t Sack Dutchman After FA Cup Triumph

Erik Ten Hag: Why Manchester United Shouldn’t Sack Dutchman After FA Cup Triumph

Isaac Darko
updated at May 26, 2024 at 7:21 PM
In this article:
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Manchester United
  • Erik ten Hag has come under scrutiny this season after an underwhelming campaign
  • The Dutchman led the Red Devils to an eighth-place finish in the EPL with 60 points
  • Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel have been linked with the Old Trafford role

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Erik ten Hag has clinched his second trophy in just two seasons as manager of Manchester United.

The Dutchman has, at the very least, postponed Sir Jim Ratcliffe's inclination to make drastic changes, a move sharpened before the FA Cup final.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag with the FA Cup after his sides 2-1 win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag with the FA Cup after his side's 2-1 win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2024. Photo by Robin Jones
Source: Getty Images

After the Red Devils' 2-1 victory over Manchester City, the Dutchman displayed confidence, and there's a noticeable shift in the fanbase sentiment, with the majority now eager to witness ten Hag's potential with some stability next season.

The United hierarchy is confronted with a crucial decision, and Sports Brief is poised to present five persuasive arguments advocating for Ten Hag's extended tenure.

Why Manchester United shouldn’t Erik ten Hag

Two titles within the span of two seasons

Under the tutelage of ten Hag, Manchester United fans have witnessed their team's presence at Wembley on five occasions over two seasons, with two trophy victories to celebrate.

Only Manchester City fans have witnessed their team claim more trophies in the last two seasons. Despite Manchester United's position in the Premier League table this season, even the most optimistic Red Devils supporters would find it difficult to argue for a title challenge against City next season.

Yet, United have managed to secure more silverware than Arsenal, Liverpool, or any other contenders.

What have these supposed challengers to Pep Guardiola's dominance achieved since ten Hag's arrival at Old Trafford?

Uninspiring options

After two years at the helm and securing two domestic trophies, ten Hag could have some leverage to resist what appears to be Jim Ratcliffe’s autocratic leadership, per Metro UK.

However, this might ironically contribute to his eventual departure, with Kieran McKenna seeming more compliant.

Mauricio Pochettino's exit from Chelsea could align well with Ineos's plans, while Thomas Tuchel's rumoured interest is intriguing.

Yet, considering their past disagreements with similar structures, their appointments would be unexpected.

Injury woes

While many teams have faced injury woes, few have been hit as severely and repeatedly in a single area of their squad.

Mason Mount's limited playing time since his £55m summer signing is concerning, but it's the defensive issues that have plagued Ten Hag's tenure, resulting in game-by-game headaches.

Manchester United conceded more goals than ever in the Premier League, only being outperformed defensively by Manchester City and Newcastle.

They also faced a barrage of shots, second only to Sheffield United, the worst defensive team in history.

However, here's why ten Hag deserves to stay: his preferred back four from last season rarely played together due to injuries, with makeshift solutions like Casemiro at centre-back.

United's defenders collectively missed 89 Premier League games due to injury, leading to inconsistent selections and lineup changes.

Distractions outside of the game

The commotion caused by Jadon Sancho's tantrum and Marcus Rashford's incidents pales in comparison to the disruption caused by the club's comprehensive strategic review.

With the relentless media portraying ten Hag as merely an interim manager from the outset, the pressure on him in one of the most demanding roles in world football became even more intense.

Although guaranteeing ten Hag's position next season was impractical, the necessary review has already led to significant progress in restructuring above the managerial level.

They could have taken steps to prevent what seems like deliberate leaks of interest in numerous other candidates on the eve of the FA Cup final – seemingly aimed at assessing fans' reactions.

Belief in young talent

When observing Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo's contributions now, it's tempting to overlook ten Hag's role in their ascent, attributing their success solely to their undeniable talent or circumstances forcing their inclusion.

However, ten Hag's commitment to nurturing youth was integral to his success at Ajax, where players like Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt flourished under his guidance.

While some managers prioritize quick fixes in the transfer market, ten Hag's track record with youth development speaks for itself.

With Jason Wilcox joining as technical director to revitalize the Red Devils' academy, fostering a culture where young talents see a clear path to the first team will be vital for its growth, especially in competing with Manchester City's renowned youth system.

Ten Hag answers sack question

Earlier, Sports Brief reported on Ten Hag speaking on his Man United future after leading the club to FA Cup triumph.

Surprisingly, City were second best for large parts of the game and were made to play for miscommunication at the back as teenager Alejandro Garnacho scored the opener.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)