Five reasons Man Utd, Ratcliffe should not sack Ten Hag: Injuries, Carabao Cup, FA Cup success…

Jason Soutar
We have five reasons why Man Utd should not sack Erik ten Hag
We have five reasons why Man Utd should not sack Erik ten Hag

It looks like the writing is on the wall for Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. It has been a turbulent couple of seasons for the Dutchman, who will reportedly be sacked and replaced by England manager Gareth Southgate.

The fact Southgate is the leading candidate and not a single Manchester United fan is excited is one of five reasons Sir Jim Ratcliffe should not sack Erik ten Hag. Hear us out, folks. Hear us out.

Why Man Utd should not sack Erik ten Hag

Injuries
Blaming injuries is a lame excuse but Manchester United have had a silly number this season. In comparison to Arsenal’s eight, the Red Devils only have three players with over 28 starts in the Premier League this campaign and have handed at least 70 minutes to 28 different players. It’s 21 for the Gunners, whose squad has not been stretched nearly as much and have been consistently brilliant.

Last season, injury quibbles were something to use against Ten Hag as the absence of even two starters would hinder his team’s performances; there is an actual epidemic this time around. Casemiro keeping his place at centre-back after having his pants pulled down at Crystal Palace tells you everything you need to know.

Manchester United’s strongest starting XI includes Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, Rasmus Hojlund and Andre Onana; that much is undeniable and not selective to prove a point. How many times this season have they started together? Three. All between January 28 and February 4. United scored 11 goals in those three games.

Ten Hag had to deal with fewer injuries last season and they managed to finish third in the Premier League and win the Carabao Cup. It’s only fair to give him another season when Martinez, Mason Mount and more are back to full fitness. With something close to his preferred XI (or close to preferred) in 2022/23, Ten Hag scored victories at home to Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal. The potential is there.

 

Carabao Cup win, back-to-back FA Cup finals
See, we are so convinced by Ten Hag that we have essentially combined two reasons.

If there is one thing a cup win gives you, it is Credit in the Bank. Now, Ten Hag might have used up all said credit given the dismal results and performances this campaign but the fact he brought the club their first trophy since 2017 should not be understated. Sir Jim Ratcliffe knows this team can win trophies under Erik ten Hag.

Defeating Newcastle United at Wembley was the highlight of the Dutchman’s first year in England but another impressive feat since coming to Old Trafford is back-to-back FA Cup finals. Domestic cup competitions are Ten Hag’s thing – he has reached three out of four finals, which is very impressive. Mikel Arteta has not reached the final of anything since winning the FA Cup in 2020.

Credit in the bank or not, proving that you can lift silverware while comfortably qualifying for the Champions League should mean a lot. While it is unlikely against an imperious Manchester City team, should United win the FA Cup this season, Ten Hag absolutely deserves to be in charge for 24/25.

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Look at Mikel Arteta – #TrustTheProcess
The outstanding job Mikel Arteta has done at Arsenal has set an example for clubs worldwide. In a game in which patience ceases to exist, it has proven to be a virtue over at the Emirates, where we are still unsure of the substance they are smoking. And the Gunners are now reaping the rewards for trusting the process instead of sacking Arteta when plenty of other owners might.

It took Arteta a long time to establish the culture he desired. He changed captains, bought young and hungry players, brought in the right characters, and got the fans back on side. This did not happen overnight. Hell, it took three-and-a-half years to challenge for the Premier League title. Ten Hag is only finishing his second year.

It has been two very challenging years too. From the Cristiano Ronaldo debacle to takeover uncertainty, he has not been the envy of any football manager during a turbulent time at Old Trafford.

Not only are Arteta and Arsenal an example to follow, but United going through managers like knickers since Sir Alex Ferguson retired has far from worked. Will there be a great deal of improvement if they sack yet another poor soul? Probably not. Especially when you take our next reason into account…

 

Lack of compelling alternatives
There are no elite managers out there to replace Erik ten Hag and that is a problem. If Ratcliffe decides to sack him, he will surely have someone in mind and if the rumours are to be believed, it is Gareth Southgate, who is not tickling any Manchester United fancies.

There is an argument to be made for Thomas Tuchel, who is leaving Bayern Munich this summer. He has won the Champions League with an English club and reached the semi-final of this season’s competition, knocking out Arsenal in the last eight. Yet fans are far from convinced. They are more convinced than any other name reportedly under consideration though, which says a lot.

Sacking Ten Hag must come with a convincing plan and that seems pretty much impossible at this stage, with no compelling replacements out there.

READ: Who will replace Erik ten Hag as Manchester United manager?

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! What do you think? Ten Hag in or Ten Hag out? Join the debate here.

 

The messy structure above him – and not just the Old Trafford roof
We touched on the takeover saga, which did nobody any favours at Manchester United, least of all Ten Hag. Now Ratcliffe is in charge and is bringing his own staff, landing some major coups along the way and convincing Dan Ashworth to ditch Newcastle for the Red Devils, the biggest question remains the future of the manager.

Letting Ten Hag manage two years when there was no stability and an incredible amount of toxicity, only to get rid of him when there’s finally a structure in place, would be incredibly harsh. Although this season is ending very poorly, look at how well he did in his first year while dealing with so much crap.

But in amongst all the madness, the manager will forever be the fall guy. This will always be the case and has been so ever since Fergie retired in 2013. David Moyes was given a colossal contract and didn’t last a season; Louis van Gaal was ditched for Jose Mourinho after winning the FA Cup, and it obviously crashed and burned under Mourinho, which sparked an entertaining period with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge.

At a time when the potential for stability and success is greater than it has ever been post-Sir Alex, it is perfectly fair for Ratcliffe to give Ten Hag the opportunity to prove this season is a one-off.

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