Manchester United extend their goalless run as Erik Ten Hag seems to be teetering between the edges of a sack
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Is Erik Ten Hag Getting Sacked?
“They’ve proved in the past they can do it. But we also have to acknowledge the fact that we didn’t do it as a team. We have to take responsibility. Football is about winning games and scoring goals.”
These are the words of Erik Ten Hag, whose boys have gone four games without a goal and the drought seems to get more severe with the passage of time for the Red Devils as their misfiring in front of the goal continues.
This has many of us wondering, is Erik Ten Hag getting sacked? Before we jump straight to conclusions, let us briefly analyze the game against West Ham and look at some trends over their previous five games.
Match Summary: West Ham 2-0 Manchester United
The visitors held much of the ball during the game with over 65% possession and registered just as many shots, 11, in contrast to West Ham’s 12. It seemed to be a balanced game at both ends as they both had a similar XG as well, with 1.03 for United and 1.25 for the Hammers. However, the home side were more efficient with their chances, tucking 2 shots past Onana out of a total 5 on target. Manchester United created only one big chance during that game and it was an opportunity squandered by Alejandro Garnacho. It ended 2-0 in an evenly fought contest.
The Scot, David Moyes was pretty impressed with his attackers and their fluidity. He says:
“I think our best part was actually later on when we put Paqueta up front and moved Jarrod out wide. He got his goal from there. But I want the boys to be flexible. Mo can play up front as well now and they’re beginning to understand that we can interchange them and move them around. I thought that was our best period in the game.”
United’s frontline seemed to lack that cutting edge once again. The Dane Rasmus Højlund’s Premier League goals chart remains blank. He was taken off early during the second half and up until then performed poorly such that it was hard to tell if he was even playing. However, Erik Ten Hag had the following to say:
“He can deal with that stress. I took him off, he was ill during the week so had a little lack of power. I protected him. We have to play two more games this week. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have to take responsibility.”
Aside from Erik Ten Hag, who takes the blame for the Red Devils? One may point to the long list of injuries that have held them back from using their strongest starting XI in its best shape while others may simply consider it poor form. For instance, United were playing without a first-team center-back against West Ham, such that the Dutch manager gave Willy Kambwala, an academy graduate, his debut at the heart of United’s back line.
It must also be pointed out that the players in Red have also been inept. Take for instance their £70m summer signing, Rasmus Højlund, who is yet to score in the Premier League – it’s been 3 months and counting since his debut. Other players have also disappointed and it seems injuries along with poor form have pushed the players into fighting for a cause with no end in sight.
Is Erik Ten Hag getting sacked?
This question isn’t really a simple yes or no response as it needs further exploration. Maybe his tactics and in-game changes have been questionable but they’re things that can be fixed. Another factor bothering the dressing room is the Dutchman’s disciplinary measures – for some, he seems to be too strict, I mean just ask Jadon Sancho. On the other hand, the higher-ups seem to slowly be losing their trust in the former Ajax manager as well.
Only time will tell if he stays. But as it stands, he still trusts his players to deliver and indirectly asserts that the board trusts him. He says:
“They are capable of it. I know [Marcus] Rashford can score, [Rasmus] Hojlund can score, Garnacho can score, Bruno [Fernandes] can score, Scott McTominay can score. We have scoring abilities in our squad and also from set plays. At this moment we’re not doing it.”
Who will replace Erik Ten Hag?
This question seems to be of greater relevance. The post-Ferguson era has seen some great managers take the wheel at Old Trafford including Jose Mourinho, Louis Van Gaal, and Erik Ten Hag himself. With all of these great managers having attempted their experiments with the squad and failing to find the right concentration of the solution, how sure can we be that the next gaffer in the queue will rejuvenate this struggling United side?
It’s clear that this job isn’t an easy one and perhaps Erik Ten Hag deserves to be given more time as it must be reiterated that he is still without many of his first-team players. Ex-United manager David Moyes himself vouches for Ten Hag and says he needs more time for his run at the Theater of Dream to be justly measured.