Exclusive: Savage claims Ten Hag’s ‘true tests’ are to come despite Man Utd’s ‘unbelievable’ PL position

Lewis Oldham
Savage on Man Utd
Robbie Savage and Erik ten Hag.

Robbie Savage thinks “true tests” for Erik ten Hag will come before Christmas as Manchester United have tough games in the Champions League and Premier League.

The Red Devils have endured a rough start to the 2023/24 campaign but their form has picked up in recent weeks.

Man Utd have won five of their previous six games in the Premier League but they struggled to get over the line in victories over Brentford, Fulham, Sheffield United and Luton Town.

The pressure on Ten Hag – who is the second favourite in the Premier League sack race – has somewhat eased in recent weeks and their 3-0 win over Everton at the weekend leaves them sixth in the table and six points adrift of table-toppers Arsenal.

When asked whether United’s recent from has afforded Ten Hag some breathing space, Savage told Football365 on behalf of Planet Sport Bet: “Well, it’s a great debate. They are at the top of the form guide in the Premier League. Winning games is key for Manchester United, as a player and a club you have to win games.

“Do you have to play with a style of football to please people? They are top of the form guide but you’ve got to look at whether they are playing well and the teams they’re playing against.

“Look, you’ve got to beat the teams in front of you. When teams play against Manchester United they might be more defensive and go with a low block, especially at Old Trafford.

“But they’ve beat Luton, Fulham, Burnley, Sheffield United, they lost to Crystal Palace and Man City. So they have won those games but not really faced any opposition where you think, that’s going to be a tough test.

“The game against Everton was probably the toughest test because of the points deduction and atmosphere, but the [Garnacho] wonder goal somewhat dampened the atmosphere inside Goodison Park and then they controlled the game in the second half.

“Everton in that first half should have been winning the game with their countless chances. Man Utd are winning games of football but you have to look at the opposition and ask are they giving United real tests”.

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But with games against Galatasaray, Newcastle United, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Bayern Munich and Liverpool coming up, Planet Sport Bet Ambassador Emma Jones asked Savage whether this upcoming run of fixtures will be the “true test for Ten Hag.”

Savage answered: “Yes. The Champions League are huge, but the Premier League games are as well.

“Newcastle, Chelsea, even though they are not playing well it’s still a test. Liverpool coming up as well, but it’s unbelievable to think Man Utd are [six points] from the top of the table even while they have not been playing too well.

“But these run of games will be the true test of where this Manchester United side is and what the project is. It’s a huge few weeks for Erik ten Hag and the club.”