Erik ten Hag's rant to Man Utd fans as Sir Jim Ratcliffe listens to Cristiano Ronaldo

Erik ten Hag faces a decisive week in his Man Utd career (Image: Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag’s fate at Manchester United is set to be sealed by the end of this week. The manager’s roller coaster 2023/24 campaign will be scrutinised by minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe in a meeting with Red Devils bosses, off the back of a shock FA Cup final triumph at the weekend.

Ten Hag’s second season in charge at Old Trafford has, by his own admission, been a “c**p” one. His side ended the Premier League season down in eighth place – their worst finish in three decades – and showed signs of regression from last term.

Yet they displayed heart in the 2-1 victory over neighbours and Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday as Ten Hag lifted his second piece of silverware with United, earning the sympathies of many supporters. With the Dutchman waiting to find out whether it was his last action as United manager, we take a look at his eventful last few days.

Pre-Wembley fury

Few gave Ten Hag’s men any chance of toppling recently crowned top flight champions City before the last day of United’s tumultuous campaign. Ahead of the final at Wembley Stadium, the 54-year-old hit back at all of the negative comments aimed at him over the duration of the season.

He unleashed a scathing rant when speaking to Dutch outlet VI in an interview published on Saturday morning. Ten Hag took aim at unspecified pundits, asserting that they “have no sense of reality” because “other clubs had a much better squad” throughout the season.

“Manchester United won the league for the last time in 2013, 11 years ago,” he said. “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 came third.”

Ten Hag continued: “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.”

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The Dutchman won the FA Cup last Saturday (Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire)

Threat to the board

The Guardian stunningly revealed last Friday that Ratcliffe was set to sack Ten Hag regardless of the FA Cup final result. Sky Sports reported Kieran McKenna, recently having guided Ipswich Town to successive promotions, has already held talks with Old Trafford bosses.

A host of other managers were also named as potential replacements, including Brentford’s Thomas Frank, recently-axed Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino and Bayern Munich’s Thomas Tuchel. That prompted Gary Lineker to put Ten Hag on the spot with a pointed question about his future on live television immediately after his FA Cup triumph.

In stark contrast to his more measured tone throughout the season, Ten Hag didn’t hold back in his response, the Mirror report. He bluntly revealed he was happy to walk away and continue his trophy-winning ways elsewhere if shown the exit.

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “The only thing I’m doing is preparing my team, developing my team. This is a project for me. When I came in I can say it was a mess. Now we are better. We are not where we want to be. If they don’t want me any more, I’ll go somewhere else and win trophies.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe [pictured] will decide Ten Hag’s fate this week (Image: Getty Images)

Decision time

A season review will be held at Manchester United this week with the aim of finally deciding Ten Hag’s fate. The Athletic reports that key figures at the club, including Ratcliffe and Ineos’ sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford, will dissect this season’s performance to assess whether it’s time to bring in a new manager.

Ten Hag and his staff have already been told to clear their desks at Carrington, reports The Telegraph. But that is only due to plans for a major refurbishment at the training ground, with desperately-needed upgrades being implemented over the summer months.

Cristiano Ronaldo famously criticised the state of United’s training facilities during a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan in 2022. The club legend brutally claimed the club had “stopped in time”, taking aim at its various facilities, including the pool, jacuzzi, gym and kitchen.

United’s squad will nonetheless train on the Carrington pitches when they return ahead of their pre-season tour of the USA in mid-July. Whether Ten Hag will be the man leading that training session remains to be seen.