Manchester UnitedThe disastrous season continued with a 3-0 home defeat Newcastle United on Wednesday, and the problems at Old Trafford are mounting. Manager Erik ten Hag said after her Carabao Cup Exit that he is “a fighter” but he is under pressure after a run of eight defeats from 15 games at the start of the 2023-24 season.
Ten Hag and United have had to deal with several injuries to key players as well as rumors in the background about a possible takeover from Sir Jim Ratcliffe Acquisition of supposedly 25% of the club and working with the Glazers. Yet there is a growing debate about whether he is still the right man for the job after some strange tactical decisions and questionable transfers.
As the situation at United approaches boiling point, here’s a look at the club’s biggest problems.
Uncertainty has surrounded Old Trafford since the Glazer family announced in November 2022 that they would consider “strategic alternatives”, including accepting outside investment or potentially agreeing to an outright sale. The chances of the Glazers leaving for good disappeared when Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani taken out of the race on October 14, citing the Glazers’ “unrealistic” valuation, and it is likely that British billionaire Ratcliffe will take a 25% stake at some point.
Ratcliffe and his INEOS consortium want to take control of the company’s football arm and, although Ten Hag has denied the potential upheaval as a cause of ongoing problems, director of football John Murtough would be vulnerable to any shake-up of the organizational chart. Most fans can blame all their complaints on the Glazers, but as things stand, they remain on top.
The managing director
Ten Hag has been on the job for 18 months and is under pressure for the first time. He has credit in the bank after a successful first season – United qualified for the Champions League and finished third in 2022/23 – but while most fans are still behind him, many are questioning some of his decisions. Ten Hag announced his decision to drop veteran defenders Raphaël Varane And Sergio Reguilon Because the Manchester derby was “tactical” – United lost 3-0 – and twice in just a few months he was booed for subbing on the new striker Rasmus Hojlund.
The biggest problem for many fans is that there still doesn’t seem to be a defined style of play. Before defeats against City and Newcastle, United won three games in a row against Brentford, Sheffield United And FC Copenhagenbut all three victories came from chance moments of skill Diogo Dalot‘s miracle strike against Sheffield United and Andre Onana‘s penalty saved in stoppage time against Copenhagen. This is not sustainable and after 15 games of the season it can be said that United have only managed a comfortable win against United Crystal Palace‘s reserves in the Carabao Cup in September.
Despite ownership concerns, United have still spent £400m on signing new players since Ten Hag’s arrival in the summer of 2022 and there are questions about how those funds will be spent. Murtough was criticized for his role, but so was Ten Hag, whose fingerprints are all over transfer policy.
Of the 16 players who arrived under Ten Hag, four are (goalkeeper Andre Onana, striker). Anthonydefender Lisandro Martinez and forward Sofian Amrabat) have worked with him at previous clubs and four others (defenders). Tyrell Malaciaforward Wout Weghorst and midfielder Christian Eriksen And Mason Mount) are either Dutch or have links to Dutch Eredivisie. It was telling that Antony (United’s second most expensive signing ever at £82m from Ajax) and Mount (£55m from Chelsea in the summer) both were on the bench in the derby defeat against Man City on Sunday.
Signing Antony for such a high transfer fee is particularly baffling, and the Brazilian winger was far from justifying the money.
United’s decision-makers still have faith in Ten Hag and that will only change if results don’t improve and he loses the dressing room. Some players have concerns about his high-intensity training sessions between games, and not everyone agrees with the severity of it Jadon Sancho’s punishment for publicly denouncing his manager; However, the team mostly stays outside.
One of Ten Hag’s biggest problems is that key players underperform. Marcus Rashford looks like a shadow of the player who scored 30 goals last season Casemiro and Varane – proven Champions League winners real Madrid – fight for form. Injuries haven’t helped – at one point Ten Hag were missing 16 first-team players – but things are looking very similar to the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign, when results started to rise and the Norwegian coach could do nothing to stem the tide contain.
Laurens: Man United lost to Newcastle’s “C team”.
Gab & Juls react to Manchester United’s 3-0 loss to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup.
United’s poor form is nothing new; In fact, Ten Hag could trace this back to the Carabao Cup final in February. Prior to their victory over Newcastle at Wembley that day, United had played 40 games, winning 29 and losing six, for a win rate of 72.5%. In the eight months since, they have played 37 games, won 20 and lost 13, and their win percentage has dropped to 54%.
The danger for Ten Hag is that Champions League qualification is usually seen as the minimum requirement for any United manager, but only once in the last decade has a team recovered from five defeats in their first ten league games to go under the first four came. That was Tottenham in the 2021-22 season when Nuno Espirito Santo was replaced by Antonio Conte in November.
Manchester City, arsenalTottenham and Liverpool Everyone is playing well, but Ten Hag could still get some breathing room thanks to the new Champions League format. More teams will take part in the 2024-25 competition and there is a possibility that this will happen Premier League will have five qualifying tournaments instead of four.