Exclusive: Ten Hag handed stark warning over Man Utd sack as potential date when axe could fall is revealed
Erik ten Hag has been warned that performances and results at Manchester United are falling way below expectations and that speculation he could be facing the sack will only increase if there is not a rapid improvement.
The Red Devils made positive strides under the Dutchman last season as United finished third in the Premier League and reached two cup finals. Success in the Carabao Cup too, suggested United were capable of winning silverware under Ten Hag and expectations grew over the summer that the 2023/24 campaign could well be the club’s best for some time.
However, with none of their summer signings yet to settle in and make a serious impact, the club has suffered a woeful start to the season. Indeed, Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Brighton could, and arguably should, have been a great deal worse.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side cruised into a deserved 3-0 lead, before Hannibal Mejbri pulled a goal back, though that proved little more than consolation at a deeply-frustrated Old Trafford.
That loss means United have already suffered three defeats from their opening five games – their worst start to a Premier League campaign since 1989. As Football365 explains, United and Ten Hag are stuck in a cul de sac of dysfunction.
Indeed, the knives are already being sharpened over Ten Hag’s future at Old Trafford. To that end, the United boss has been warned that sub-standard performances and results are threatening to undermine all his good work from last season.Furthermore, Chris Sutton feels the situation around Jadon Sancho is proving too difficult for Ten Hag to handle.
United next face a difficult Champions League match against Harry Kane and Bayern Munich. And while they will go into the match as second favourites, they will be expected to put on a far improved performance.
That will again be the minimum expected on Saturday evening against Burnley. And anything less than all three points at Turf Moor could make life extremely difficult for Ten Hag.
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Time to sack Ten Hag is not now; he needs time to turn situation around – Savage
Now Planet Sport ambassador Robbie Savage has suggested that while it is too soon to axe Ten Hag now, the pressure on him will begin to grow if there is no improvements by Christmas.
Perhaps more alarmingly though, having already fallen nine points behind Manchester City, Savage reckons United’s title race is already run.
“It’s been of their worst ever starts to a Premier League campaign. The way the team are playing is really really poor and some of the substitutions like [Rasmus] Hojlund being taken off at the weekend are very strange too.
“I wasn’t surprised at all that Brighton went to Old Trafford and won. Erik ten Hag has got to get them playing in a way that allows the players to play to their full abilities and because they’re not doing that, he’s under huge pressure.
“Anyone who takes that seat is under huge pressure immediately if the team aren’t winning football matches. Any Manchester United manager has to win football matches and win them in a certain style. Ten Hag is falling way short of that, so the next few games in the Premier League this season are simply must wins.
“I don’t see them getting anything against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and realistically after only five games, they are already out of the title race. I thought United would push City given the recruitment, but they are miles off it.”
Champions League campaign crucial for Ten Hag
Explaining, however, why Ten Hag should be given time, Savage added: “Ten Hag should be given till at least Christmas because the new players need time to buy into his philosophy and way of playing, but if things don’t get better come that time, I think it might be time for a change.”
“Manchester United cannot win the Premier League and people might have said they can’t win the Premier League anyway. But to be nine points behind at this stage after five games and a minus four goal difference. It’s not acceptable. So yes, and it’s massive pressure for Ten Hag right now, no doubt about that.
“You know, you might have a few people saying it’s time for a change at Manchester United, but I think that’s nonsense. He needs to be given at least until Christmas, because they’ve got new players into the squad, they need to integrate them into his playing style and philosophy.
“But if things don’t change by Christmas, I think it might be time for a change.
“If results continue in this vein, and at Christmas, it’s no better, of course [the axe could fall]. “I think results will dictate what happens for Hag, because, we will know by then where they are with the Champions League. And if they’ve failed to qualify from the group stages, and either drop in to the Europa League or out of the competition altogether, then I think that will inevitably defy what happens for the rest of the season. But the time to act is not now; it is still two and a half months away.”
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