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Manchester United's Dilemma: Erik Ten Hag

United’s last convincing win under ten hag was a win yesterday against Everton, who have just recently been deducted 10 points in the table. Their last assured win before that was way all the way back in September against Crystal Palace at home. Since then, they’ve really struggled - they’ve been a low scoring team and unable to get off to the right start in matches.


Many could say that the main problem at Manchester United Football Club lies within it’s organisational structures, most specifically ownership - these people are absolutely correct. The current owners of the club, the Glazer family, announced in November 2022 that they would consider “strategic alternatives” including a full sale or a minority stake in the club. Just recently, Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS consortium acquired a 25% stake in the club, at $33 per share. 


Secondly, for the first time in Ten Hag’s 18 month tenure at the club, fans and critics alike are starting to have some major doubts about his tactics and selection decisions. Ten Hag dropped Sergio Reguilon and Raphael Varane for their derby clash against City, and said this decision was “tactical” - Manchester United lost this match 3-0 despite being at home. Along with this, there is no defined style of play at United. Many recognise Man City for possession-based football and Liverpool for constant pressing, but many Man United fans don’t see any sort of character in their team. Before their losses to Newcastle and City, they had won 3 games in a row against Brentford, Sheffield United, and FC Copenhagen, but all with moments of hail-mary-esque skill, such as Onana’s stoppage time penalty save, McTominay’s late brace and Dalot’s wonder-strike against Sheffield. 


Thirdly, another problem stems from their recruitment, United have spent a whopping 400 million pounds under Ten Hag, and unsurprisingly, most players signed have some link to the dutch Eredivisie (Ten Hag’s former home). These players include: Tyrell Malacia (previously at Feyenoord), Antony (managed by Ten Hag himself), Sofyan Amrabat (managed by Ten Hag at FC Utrecht), and even Mason Mount, who everyone would presume has been with Chelsea his entire career, but was actually on loan for a season at Vitesse. 


It might be time for Ten Hag to leave Old Trafford, but considering the Glazer family’s past habits, he will most likely be in charge until the end of this season. If he leaves the post early, then the favourites for the job will be Brighton’s De Zerbi, currently jobless Antonio Conte, and United fan favourite Michael Carrick, who is currently at Middlesbrough, having guided them to the Championship playoffs last season.


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