Five reasons to sack Ten Hag and his ‘caveman’ football for Man Utd

Editor F365
Erik ten Hag waves to the fans after leading Manchester United to the FA Cup
Erik ten Hag waves to the fans after leading Manchester United to the FA Cup

Manchester United winning the FA Cup has not changed some minds about Erik ten Hag, who should be sacked, according to most.

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The case against Erik ten Hag
There has been a wave of support for ETH on the back of an exceptional performance in the FA Cup Final. I can understand that there is a logical and emotional argument to give him another year. But I want to present the rationale for moving beyond ETH, as far as United are concerned.

We played probably our best game of the season on Saturday. But if City had taken a couple of their very presentable chances and the game ended at 3-2 we would have been getting the pat on the back for being worthy runners-up to a winning machine. I don’t think anybody can argue that for all the brilliance of the goals, the second half was incredibly one-sided.

We also won as much because of Pep and Man City’s arrogance. I think if City took this game for granted. Pep tinkered as he sometimes does because just winning things simply has gotten too boring for him. And the adjustments came a little too late.

Looking beyond the final, there are five big things ETH is guilty of, IMHO.

The first is inconsistency. You can’t be a top team with out a level of assurance about the performance at a squad level. United’s big problem this season has not been the ceiling but the floor of the performances. And while injuries are a part of the story, they certainly don’t explain the whole of it. Six of the FA Cup final players started the Crystal Palace game. Three of the final subs also started the game, and one of the starters was on the bench that day. With an overlap of almost the whole team, the swing in performance cannot be that vast. Anybody who has watched United this season has lost clumps of hair that they’ve torn out themselves at some of the football. Discipline, concentration, positioning and focus can’t oscillate that violently because you’re playing your second choice midfield or defence.

The second is the appalling game management. For every thrilling win over Man City and Liverpool, there are the losses against Copenhagen, and Galatasaray, and lest we forget the near calamity at Coventry from 3-0 up in the final 20 minutes! Or the loss against Chelsea and the late concessions against Liverpool and others. This is a mentality or fitness problem, not an injury one.

The third is the counter-argument to winning trophies. Yes, we’ve won 2 trophies in 2 years. But as we all know cup competitions are often about not losing. You can afford to be compact, and play on the counter, and expect to win your share of cup games. Doing well in the league requires you to do more than that, you have to play for the win. Or rather overcome the other team’s willingness to hit you on the counter. Which is where United have been undone all too often.

The fourth problem is about forward play. United have nobody in the 20-goal region. And yet we have the Hojlund conundrum. He has the highest conversion rate of any player with more than 10 goals, at 34%. Only Isak comes close at 33%, Haaland is at 28% and Salah is at 20%. We know he’s not shy of doing the running, or taking up the right positions. But the fact that he’s not getting better service is very clearly a coaching and playing style problem.

The last and most significant problem I have is that while ETH probably has tactical clarity in his head, it seems that he lacks the emotional connect that is the mark of a great manager. You have to get the hearts and minds bit right at as well. Some players need the hair dryer, others the arm around the shoulder, and one way or another, you have to get inside their heads. Ten Hag seems to be short on this count, given the number of senior players playing below their potential.

It’s a bigger problem for a club permanently in the spotlight, but all the more reason this has to be an important piece in the manager’s toolkit. I do think that many players are lacking that 10% motivation that is impacting their training and fitness, and showing up on the pitch, in the injuries, and in the performances, especially in the last 20 mins of any game.

I appreciate that there’s probably a similar list of arguments for him to stay. And these are all decisions fraught with risk. But that’s why I hope putting the right people behind the manager is a more critical piece that Ineos is getting in place. I had a lot of faith in ETH up to the middle of this season but in the final few games, he seems to have started living in an alternate reality of what the games were like. I wouldn’t mind if he stays, with the correct structure above him. Nor would I be distraught if he was replaced.
Ved Sen, MUFC

👉 Who will be the next Man Utd manager?
👉 Can we be Frank? Manchester United might be replacing Ten Hag with a worse fit and bigger gamble
👉 Arsenal bite back against mid-table Manchester United as Ten Hag In and Out campaigns clash



Behind even the clown-orgy of a season that Chelsea had.


Monsieur Monkey, basking in the sand


Ten Hag still out: It was ‘caveman’ football in FA Cup
Yes, Utd won the FA Cup on Saturday but they played underdog football – 27% possession in a cup final is pathetic.

£400m spent to play like a League One team drawn away to a PL club in round 3 of the FA Cup.

The first goal was just an utterly aimless long hoof. It was reminiscent of Bolton under Big Sam. Caveman stuff.

He took over Utd when they were 7th and had a 0 gd. He has spent £400m since May 2022. Utd just finished 8th with a – 1gd. They were completely out of Europe before Christmas and also had a negative GD in what was a very poor group.

Yes, he has had injuries but so has every other team. They had no injuries at the start of the season and lost 3 of their first 5 games.

It should have been worse except for Simon Hooper inexplicably not giving a penalty when Onana WWE style clotheslined a Wolves player.

In conclusion… ETH in…seriously??
(all non Utd fans say keep him…enough said).
Gussy, Ireland

But Ten Hag is a serial winner
Never in my life have I seen F365 so openly and shamelessly call for a manager’s head, no matter how many times they have been proven wrong in successive days and weeks.

(We literally wrote a feature about why they shouldn’t sack him, but carry on – Ed)

Being stubbornly adamant about sacking Ten Hag, multiple articles about how he has to be sacked, both before and after the FA Cup. It is absolute insanity the amount of disrespect that ETH has been shown by the media, the usual culprits as well as the good ones like F365, Lineker, Shearer etc. Let’s look at some facts:

– Ten Hag has won a trophy in every single year of his managerial career, other than the Covid year when Ajax were on top of the league but the league was cancelled.

– Currently the most decorated manager in the Premier League behind Pep, and the only one with multiple league titles as well as cup titles.

– 2 trophies in 2 years, with one of the worst United squads in history (Both talent as well as injury wise).

– City showed us what happens when they switch their CB for just 1 game. Now imagine having to do it for 40 games in the season, with a million different pairings. Using a semi retired bloke + a midfielder for half a dozen games to end the season. Now imagine the Arsenal squad without Saliba, Gabriel, White for their entire season, City without Dias, Gvardiol & Ake etc.

– ETH handled some of the biggest issues without breaking a sweat. Rashford’s indiscipline handled with ease. Ronaldo & Sancho’s situation was handled with the perfect response. We won 2 trophies once Ronaldo left. And if Sancho is so good, let’s see if anyone is willing to even pay 45m for him. no one will be for a lazy player who has 1 good game in 10.

– A serial loser & constant failure in EPL, Pochettino gets nothing but love from the media for what? Being so bad at managing that he managed to lose the league with a superstar PSG team? Or wasting half a billion dollars to play like trash with Chelsea? Or bottling the biggest game of his and spurs entire lifetime with Liverpool there for the taking on the day? I have rarely seen such a bad manager given so much leeway just for vibes. But then you wanna turn around and remove a SERIAL WINNER like Ten Hag?

– Then we come to Arteta. Whose biggest accomplishment remains an FA Cup victory in 2020. Is anyone really going to care about how Arsenal ran City close? Or oh they were just 2 points behind? NO! Just like Liverpool before them, all these things stay in the mind for a year or two for the public. In 2027, if Arsenal do not win any league, no one is going to remember their efforts or how close they came. 4 years since, Arteta has won f*** all with an actually great team (Which he built). Yet no one seems to be calling for his head (Neither am i, he is doing a good job). Yet Ten Hag is questioned after a tough season with mitigating circumstances.

It doesn’t matter what I think or even what F365 thinks or anyone thinks. The fact remains that:

1. In 7 years, ETH has won trophies in all of them. He knows what it is to win, to build winning teams.

2. He is currently the second most decorated EPL manager (Funny, but true!) after Pep.

3. There are no better alternatives out there. Pochettino is a loser, McKenna too new, Frank just had a rubbish season, Tuchel a risk but the best out of it. World over, the only manager I would want for my team is Ancelotti. And he is busy with bigger things currently. Klopp & Pep are the only other great managers out there, but never want them at United. So yeah.

History is written by winners. If ETH lost the final today, it would be a disaster of a season, and his United career would most probably be over. But that’s the difference between winners & the losers. The winners end up with something even in their worst season with all the odds stacked against them.

A (United were 10/1 to win the cup, best 10 pounds I ever spent)

📣TO THE COMMENTS! Can Ten Hag really still be the future for Man Utd? Join the debate here


Why are we afraid to offend Pep?
Rumours suggest Pep may move on Summer 25 at about the same time as the 115 charges are believed to be addressed. Considering that the majority of those charges relate to aggressively growing the club to a size where Pep might deem to manage it surely he is the main beneficiary of any wrong doing.

I have no clue why some clubs can be punished twice a season whilst City’s cases get kicked into the long grass unless the Premier League does not want to rock the boat and enjoys having the prestige of a globally dominant club run by a genius under their umbrella. If that was the case football’s integrity has hit a new low.
Ted Bythesea


The true world order
Firstly, congratulations to Utd, you were by far the better team.

However, I must correct Badwolf. Winning the Europa League gets you an exotic, continental trophy and champions League qualification. It’s clearly more valuable than either top four or the FAC.

The correct order is Club World Cup*/ CL/ League/(#) Europa/ FAC/ ‘Top Four Trophy/ Conference League/ LC/ Europa qual./ Conference qual.

*Come on, it’s the WORLD cup! World, you know, bigger?

# Where Arsenal fans would put the ‘Top Four Trophy ‘ it seems. Interesting that the discussion is between two clubs who’ve worn the FAC (4)27 times between them.

I think for literally any other fan lifting a trophy beats a top four finish.

The crazy part is – it looks like Stewie G was right all along!
Hartley MCFC Somerset (…as was Calvino. ETH has been in the crazy chair for two years and he’s still smiling and puts out a team which plays like that. A rare quality.)


Disgusting things on a football pitch
Excellent article from John Nic, as ever, about the footballing acts of violence. Hope the recovery is going well!

As was called out in at least one of the BLT comments, though, I think he’s missed the single most disgusting act of violence ever perpetrated on a football pitch. But I’m not just going to flag that and leave it there. I like John’s writing. I agree with many of his views on politics and VAR and love the fact that he boils all the piss of just the right kind of person. So in a more positive steps, I’m going to take inspiration and follow with my own listicle based around the most disgusting things ever seen on a footy pitch. Feel free to add any you think I’ve forgotten about. I’ve steered clear of the horror injuries because that just seemed gratuitous.

Schumacher nearly decapitates Battiston
The inspiration for this mail and the closest I’m going to come to including an injury in my list of appallingnesses. If you’ve not seen the footage from the 1982 World Cup (which I would suggest is the only bit of football coverage which should only be shown after the watershed), imagine the first Manchester United goal in the FA cup final this weekend, but instead of Stefan Ortega wandering out and vaguely flapping at the bouncing above Josko Gvardiol’s head, imagine Ortega, haring out of his goalmouth with his eyes laser focused on Alejandro Garnacho, and a look of murderous intent on his face.

Imagine Ortega launching himself, hip-first, at Garnacho’s head; Garnacho hitting the floor like the proverbial sack of potatoes and waking up a short while afterwards with two missing teeth and three broken ribs. If you can imagine something like that, then you’re coming close to the brutality of the sickening “collision” between German keeper Harald Schumacher and the poor, unfortunate, French forward, Patrick Battiston. Proper naughty.

Lineker’s pants
England’s golden boy. Along with Gazza, the reason I’m a Spurs supporter. Famously never collected a card during his career and, though he was very disinclined to foul his opponents, England’s favourite savoury snack merchant famously fouled himself in the full glare of the World Cup coverage for England against Ireland in 1990. The future MOTD presenter later admitted that he had diarrhoea the night before and didn’t tell England manager, Bobby Robson for fear he’d be dropped – preferring instead to drop his own guts in the middle of the pitch in Cagliari.

‘It was amazing how much space I found after that though, I was stinking’, claimed Lineker, who failed to add to his 9th minute opener and was substituted in the last 10 minutes, evidently making little use of the space afforded to him as his squelched his way around the pitch for over an hour. Rumours that the upset stomach was caused by Lineker binge-eating a case of Golden Wonder crisps were unconfirmed.

Heurelho Gomes blubs
The irredeemably Spursy nature of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has broken many a hardy soul. Antonio Conte couldn’t fix it. Jose Mourinho left in a huff. Even everybody’s mate, Ange Postecoglou, has started to get a bit tetchy after all the fans said they didn’t like Arsenal all that much. But I can only recall one player driven to tears. Brazilian keeper Heurelho Gomes was signed in the summer of 2008 by then manager Juande Ramos to replace outgoing Legue Cup winning keeper Paul Robinson.

If you’re not sure how the first 8 games of the following season panned out, just look for any footage of any interview conducted with Harry Redknapp across the 2008/09 season. What is often forgotten about that spell is that, during the eighth dismal match of that campaign away to Stoke City, Spurs’ new goalkeeper had become so disheartened by the sheer hopelessness of it all; so utterly devastated by the shambles in front of him that he was seen to break down sobbing into his gloves.

To be clear; it’s not the crying that I’m calling out as disgusting – just the absolute state of the club during that period, which brought a grown man to tears. Gomes has later said that the issue was with broken ribs and ineffective pain-killing injections rather than the relentless bombardment of Rory Delap throw-ins to cap off a two month spell in which he must have lamented joining an absolute basket-case of a football club. Still, at least the subsequent 15 years haven’t been fairly plain sailing.

The Disgrace of Gijon
On to make Yer Da’ properly shake his head in dismay. 1982 seems to have been a World Cup full of disgust (and West Germany particularly prolific with the controversies), though this takes a different slant to the aforementioned assault. Very simply, in a farce of match scheduling, West Germany and Austria entered their final group match knowing that a 1-0 win for the Germans would see both sides safely through to the next round. I’m not a gambling man, but the odds on such a result were pretty short (although, being only three months old, I was a little young to make a wager either way).

West Germany scored early on as a football match briefly broke out for the opening 15 minutes. What followed was a processing towards a pre-determined result that would make WWE wrestlers blush as both sides settled for scoreline that suited both of their needs. Algeria were eliminated. Everyone lost their shit. Rules were subsequently changed so that these final group games were always played out simultaneously. To be fair, you can’t really blame either side. It’s actually FIFA’s fault when you think about it.

Rijkaard gobs on Rudi Voller
Another World Cup moment; this time from 1990. West Germany versus Netherlands always having an additional element of spice; it was the W Germans – specifically Rudi Voeller’s magnificent permed mullet – who were the victims of the disgusting scandal this time. Frank Rijkaard (he of a brief successful managerial stint with Barcelona) picked up a booking for a foul on Voeller, which would mean a suspension for the next round if the Dutch were to win and (evidently feeling aggrieved that Voeller had made a meal of the challenge) responded by aiming the most massive ball of spit in the history of salivary discharge, directly into the back of the German striker’s head.

Eugh! This being 1990, there was some reasonable mitigation for Rijkaard’s poor mood, in that there was some horrendous racist chanting being aimed at him and others in the Dutch side; something that could have made my list of disgusting behaviour itself, but I wanted to keep it reasonably light. For the final word, I can’t put it better than Wikipedia… “Völler complained to the referee and was booked as well.” A reminder there that, no matter how disgusting the behaviour, no one likes a grass.
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston Upon Thames