Is Ten Hag the real problem at Manchester United? The good times never seem to last for the Red Devils since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. Now, Erik Ten Hag is the man at the wheel, and even though everything seemed to be looking up just a few months ago, the wheels are slowly but surely falling off the bus.
But Is Ten Hag The Real Problem or is there a much deeper problem at hand?
On Saturday night, there was only one ‘United’ club as Newcastle handed Manchester their second consecutive defeat of the season with an aggregate of 4-0. Additionally, the Old Trafford club are also staring down the barrel of a Champions League group stage exit after their 3-3 draw against Galatasaray.
These two recent results have left several first-team stars questioning Ten Hag’s methods as manager. With Chelsea and Bayern Munich coming up, players have decided to start speaking up before matters get even more out of hand.
News coming out of the club has not been good for the Dutchman as the key report is that half the team is unhappy with his management and training. If the squad being divided down the middle sounds familiar, it’s because it is. The same things happened under previous regimes such as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho. If their fates are any indication, it may not be long before United are on the lookout for a new manager.
Given that Ten Hag personally lobbied for a number of new signings into the club, it’s not hard to correctly guess the players that seem to be expressing their frustrations
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. Aside from the division, another complaint of those players was that they are not happy about ‘training and running too hard’. Surely that can’t be true, but alas, all we do is report it and that is exactly what the facts seem to be. We hope the hundred thousands they receive each week can help with that.
Furthermore, the players do not seem to have taken a liking to some of the Dutchman’s signings and even we can admit, there’s a point to be made about that. According to reports from the Manchester Evening news, senior players have questioned four signings made by their manager that have continued to raise eyebrows. One player is said to be ‘particularly perplexed’ by the £72 million addition of Rasmus Hojlund, who is yet to score in the Premier League.
Antony, who has had a tumultuous time both personally and professionally is another signing on the list alongside Wout Weghorst, who netted just twice in 31 appearances, and lastly Mason Mount who has been nothing short of a disaster since arriving.
These four signings have stood out as not being well received by the team but there have been plenty of other players brought in by the gaffer that could fall into the category. Whether Ten Hag has been the one scouting them or not, some serious changes need to happen in that department.
Another facet players seem to be against when it comes to the Dutchman is his choice of man management style. Since his arrival and subsequent falling out with Cristiano Ronaldo, it has been widely recognised that he is a ‘my way or the highway’ type of manager and this is something players seem to be against. Instead, they feel that he should try to be more understanding and considerate of the emotions of those he is managing.
He has also been labeled as petty by others given that it takes very little for one to get in his bad graces. Case in point Raphael Varane who is now rooted to the United bench after coming back from injury.
The Frenchman has always been known to be a top professional but he apparently did something minor against the boss and has suffered the consequences ever since, barely getting a minute recently.
The player who has arguably suffered worst at the hands of the ruthless manager though is none other than Jadon Sancho. The winger tweeted against comments Ten Hag made about his training after the Arsenal game and has been in the dog house ever since.
He followed this up by refusing to apologize for his comments which led the Dutchman to completely expel him from the squad, even being forbidden from mixing and eating with his colleagues. He even has to lock the door when he changes in the academy due to safeguarding issues relating to any senior player mixing with minors.
This treatment has rubbed senior players the wrong way as Sancho was one of the more well- liked players in the squad. The tactic seems to have done the opposite of what Ten Hag thought it would as it has now escalated into vicious fractures within the squad and players speaking out against him.
The play style and results are not on his side as well since the team now sits bottom of their Champions League group and do not seem likely to get top 4, even this early into the season. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to turn the tide around given we have seen this exact cycle happen to almost every manager sacked by the club.
It could be the fact that the style he used to manage up and coming youngsters at Ajax simply does not work in the big leagues. Or it could just be a matter of players he inherited not being willing to buy into his style. Either way, Manchester United seem to be at a crossroads and the next few weeks and months may end up dictating their place in the football world for years to come.
Do you think Ten Hag is to blame for the current state of the club or do you think something else is?
Let us know all your thoughts in the comments section.