Erik ten Hag should be trusted to oversee Manchester United’s open heart surgery

Manchester United have not had many happy times this season, but under-fire Dutchman Erik ten Hag should be backed as the club’s manager

Manchester United have not had many happy times this season, but under-fire Dutchman Erik ten Hag should be backed as the club’s manager. Photo: Peter Powell/EPA

Published Dec 11, 2023


What do David Moyes, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have in common?

The three managers were all given the boot by the Manchester United hierarchy after suffering 3-0 defeats ... Sort of. Mourinho last game in charge was a 3-1 drubbing.

So, when United were handed their backsides on a plate at home by Bournemouth last weekend, many expected Dutchman Erik ten Hag to be shown the door.

Results have been horrendous this season, and there have been widespread reports of disharmony within the squad, with a number of key players said to have fallen out with the boss.

In other clubs, this would be a sign that things have reached a point of no return, and the next logical step would be to pull the plug on the entire project and start from scratch ... again.

However, the club’s Glazer owners have resisted that and allowed Ten Hag to do his job. Surprisingly, pundits and fans have backed that decision, and it makes sense.

In an age where club owners can be too trigger happy, the Glazers have shown a lot of restraint as they have been here before, and they know that sacking Ten Hag and starting from the beginning again will only set the club back and nothing will change.

The same players who downed tools during the last days of Solskjaer’s reign are now doing the same to Ten Hag. Who is to say they won’t do the same to the next manager the club brings in? It will only create a vicious cycle where they will simply get what they want by simply not trying, setting a dangerous precedent in the process.

The club have no choice but to continue backing Ten Hag. What would have happened if the club relented to pressure and sacked the great Sir Alex Ferguson three years into his tenure?

It took Ferguson eight years to get things right. One of the things Fergie had to do was removing the culture of tardiness and upholding standards, a subject that has been mentioned during Ten Hag’s tenure.

In his short time in England, German Ralf Rangnick said Manchester United required open heart surgery in order to get back on track. Ten Hag is the surgeon and he’s currently overseeing the biggest operation in English football.

Parts that serve no function will have to be removed and replaced. It won’t be pretty to watch, and will more likely than not lead to more pain, but it needs to be done in order to start moving in the right direction.

Ten Hag is a good manager, with a good idea on how the game should be played. His time at Ajax Amsterdam, and first season at United showed that. For some reason, things have not gone to plan this season, but he should be given the opportunity to fix them.

IOL Sport