Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, is feeling the heat as his team’s season begins with a dismal run of results.
Once upon a time, during the summer, the idea of Erik ten Hag’s future being a topic of discussion seemed absurd. According to The Guardian, Manchester United maintains that the manager’s position is secure and not up for debate.
Nevertheless, the fact that this subject is now surfacing in the media and among some supporters speaks volumes. Unfortunately for Manchester United fans, this development is not surprising. It’s what typically occurs when a team loses six out of its first ten games of the season. We’ve witnessed this unraveling before, and it’s far from pleasant. Patience may wear thin if the results continue to decline.
An exit by Erik ten Hag would create the biggest mess yet for Manchester United. If the Dutchman were to be sacked, it could exacerbate the club’s problems rather than resolve them.
This situation is more precarious than the dismissals of previous managers such as David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United has committed fully to Ten Hag’s approach, investing significantly in players he personally recommended. Such a scenario would pose its own set of challenges for a new manager, as we have seen in the past.
One had hoped that Manchester United had learned from past experiences. The plan was to appoint a proper director of football, with Ralf Rangnick lined up as a consultant. However, all decision-making power eventually shifted to Erik ten Hag. The initial results were promising, but this season’s performance has been shockingly poor, to the extent that it could jeopardize his job if improvement does not occur.
Hiring a new manager would entail an extremely difficult rebuilding process and offer more excuses to players who have experienced multiple managerial changes during their time at Old Trafford.
However, the most significant issues lie off the pitch. Manchester United ran out of money during the summer transfer window and had no funds for investments in January. If a new manager were to come in, there might not be any money available for January signings, and pursuing an interim solution would likely be disastrous.
The ongoing takeover saga further distracts from the situation, with no resolution in sight. It would hinder the efforts of any new manager.
Supporting Erik ten Hag is essential for Manchester United. Removing him would create a massive void at Old Trafford, erasing a manager who is attempting to eliminate player power and ultimately ceding more control to underperforming players who need to be moved on.
Arsenal faced a similar situation when they stood by Mikel Arteta during a disastrous run in his first full season. Their patience is now paying off.
Perhaps it’s necessary to take a step backward to move forward. Missing out on European football next season could provide more time on the training pitch for Ten Hag and his players and prompt a much-needed clear-out. These are both essential steps for Manchester United.
However, this doesn’t mean Erik ten Hag has an unlimited free pass. If Manchester United were to lose the next five or ten games, the situation might become intolerable. We saw this at Chelsea last season when they desperately wanted to retain their new appointment, Graham Potter, but the losses continued to mount, forcing their hand.
Manchester United will afford Ten Hag time, but patience has its limits, regardless of the enormous mess that would be left behind.