Home BETTING TIPS Ten Hag has only added to the problems at ‘United’.

Ten Hag has only added to the problems at ‘United’.



Eight years ago, Manchester United were in a similar position to the one they find themselves in now. While they were preparing for an FA Cup final, the season as a whole had been disappointing. United had fallen out of the top four and cup glory wasn’t enough for Louis van Gaal to keep his job. Erik ten Hag could suffer a similar fate.

Manchester City are firm favourites to complete a domestic Double at Wembley this weekend by beating Manchester United to lift the FA Cup. Pep Guardiola’s team are fresh from securing a fourth successive Premier League title and are well-established as one of the strongest sides in English football history.

Ten Hag, however, is hopeful United can upset the odds, telling the Old Trafford crowd after Manchester United’s final home game of the season that his players will “give everything” to win Saturday’s FA Cup final. Lisandro Martinez’s return to fitness will at least improve Manchester United’s chances in a defensive sense. Those chances, however, are still slim.

Even if Manchester United pull off a shock and beat City this weekend, ten Hag’s failings must be recognised. Injuries have seriously hindered the Old Trafford outfit over the course of the campaign, but ten Hag has only added to the problems suffered by United. He has played a part in their struggles.

In two years as Manchester United manager, ten Hag has failed to implement the sort of possession-orientated approach that caught the eye during his time at Ajax. The 54-year-old was hired to change the style of play at Old Trafford and at no point has he been able to do that. United, by and large, still play the sort of football they played under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Even last season, when Manchester United finished third and generally enjoyed a successful campaign, they didn’t play the way ten Hag wanted. Compromises were made to achieve short-term results including the signing of Casemiro when ten Hag truly wanted Frenkie de Jong. Casemiro and de Jong are both midfielders, but play the position very differently.

In hindsight, ten Hag’s acceptance of Casemiro as a consolation prize for not landing de Jong set in motion a chain reaction that moved Manchester United further and further away from the Dutchman’s original vision for the Old Trafford side. United are nothing like the Ajax team that ten Hag coached over a number of seasons.

Casemiro is just one of the signings made by Manchester United under ten Hag that hasn’t panned out as planned. Antony has proved to be an expensive flop after ten Hag pushed for the £81m capture of the Brazilian winger while Mason Mount, Sofyan Amrabat and Andre Onana have all come under various degrees of scrutiny.

At most other clubs, the manager wouldn’t take the blame for a series of poor signings, but ten Hag has had a say in Manchester United’s transfer strategy since arriving at the club two summers ago. In particular, he pushed United towards targeting a number of players he had coached earlier in his career – see Martinez, Antony, Mount, Amrabat, Onana and Wout Weghorst.

Manchester United face a pivotal crossroads in their recent history as a club following Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS’s investment. New front office figures have arrived at Old Trafford in recent months and they have been charged with plotting a way forward for United. Looking at the full picture, it’s difficult to argue ten Hag should continue in charge beyond this summer. The result in this weekend’s FA Cup final shouldn’t be a factor.