Ten Hag ‘bull’ claim suggests Man Utd should be Prem winners in waiting despite four problems

Editor F365
Man Utd Ten Hag
Gareth Southgate could replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.

The Mailbox hits out at Erik ten Hag even though Manchester United apparently should be 18 points clear of Liverpool and the “this means more” debate rolls on.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Gareth to Man Utd?
Gareth for Man Utd might not be a disaster
but it’s also not very likely to be a winning combination. Not to mention he’d be a bit crazy to go to utd in its current prolonged state.

Gareth has Rice, Foden, Bellingham, Saka, Grealish in midfield to mention just a few. He has Kane. And he hasn’t had to deal with his first choice defensive unit being out, even if he did, he gets to choose from elite players rather than a significant step down.

I always thought Gareth and Ole were very similar when they both started at their big jobs. They both got a prolongued new manager bounce from being positive and they also exceeded expectations from playing the best way they could with the resources at their disposal. Southgate played with 2 holding midfielders while Ole relied on pacey front men to nick a couple of goals. The big difference in trajectories is that Southgates players at his disposal continued to improve while Oles didn’t.

As other mailboxers have mentioned, the manager is not the problem. It’s way deeper than that.

I am losing faith with ETH given we still can’t string together more than 2 passes at a time, everyone is doing a Fernandes and looking for the Hollywood pass. But changing him won’t help, let’s see what happens by the end of the season when more players are available. And hopefully in the summer we’ll get rid of Anthony, Martial, Sancho, Amrabat and replace them with the promising youngsters coming through already. Save the transfer budget for other promising youngsters, we don’t need any more over-priced former galacticos. We know we won’t compete seriously for a few years so buy players that will develop in that time frame playing in a way we can build towards.
Jon, Cape Town (seeing City destroy a team we struggled against in the champions league with their second string is a reminder of how far behind we have fallen)


Ten Hag “bull”
According to the ever-more delusional Eric Ten Hag, apparently his team could have 14 (!) more wins this season in the Premier League if only (if only!) he didn’t have injuries in his squad.

OK let’s break this down.

Let’s start with draws. Manchester United have two, earning them two points. If won, six points. to +4 on the Ten Hag scale, and that leaves us with 12 apparently “injury caused” games that they didn’t win.

They have lost 11, so that’s 33 points attributable to injuries, according to the frowning Dutchman. So let’s add 33 points to the Triumphant Manchester United, which puts them on 37 points they should have gained, and they still have an “injury game in hand”.

So the league table looks like:

LIVERPOOL – 63 points
ARSENAL – 61 Points

So a clearly-insurmountable task for everyone else; who might as well head to the beach right now, with their pristine, uninjured squads bowing down to the Ten Hag spin and bullshit.

Please make him stop.
Steve, Los Angeles

Erik ten Hag applauding with a prominent Manchester United badge alongside him.
Erik ten Hag is under pressure.


Further mitigation for Ten Hag despite four issues…
I come bearing additional mitigating factors for Erik Ten Hag (sorry). We’ve done to death everything about bad recruitment, including some that he is responsible for, injuries and behavioural and legacy issues with the squad. But we don’t really sit and assess what it means in terms of how United play football (or don’t).

There was a decent piece in the Athletic about Onana’s struggles and it just leaves me with a feeling like absolutely none of the issues United have had can be taken in isolation. Onana has had to adapt to a new league, a new country and a new way of playing. His arrival at United was supposed to herald United moving into the modern era in terms of playing football out from the back and pressing high up the pitch. You could see this was the intent during early weeks of the season as United were the leaders for high transitions, though at the opposite end of the table for scoring from them.

Now I saw United a couple of times in pre season and we looked rubbish so I’m not going to tell you this new style would ever have worked. But the point is that Ten Hag has never been able to implement it.

At the start of the season Ten Hag was probably envisioning his best team to be something like this:

Wan Bissaka Varane Martinez Shaw
Casemiro Mainoo
Anthony Fernandes Rashford

Already in that team you know that Wan Bissaka and Varane are weak links when playing a high line. Casemiro had been awesome for United last season but started this one like an old man getting out of bed in the middle of the night to take a leak. Mainoo was injured in preseason which meant Mount took his place which essentially meant United started the season playing with two number 8s (the consensus on Mount at the time was that this was ok because he’s a press monster). Hojlund started the season injured so Rashford started up front.

Since this point Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro and Mason Mount have spent large portions of the season injured. Mainoo only returned at the end of November. Anthony has become even worse and spent time out to sort his personal life out. Varane, Lindelof, Maguire, Evans, Kambwala have all spent time in and out of the side. Wan Bissaka has been further outed as the least ball playing full back this side of the 90s.

So this has affected Ten Hag’s ability to play anything near how he wants us to play. This in turn impacts on the performances of players like Onana who’s played behind 24 different back lines this season. And I suspect probably Rashford as well. Bruno has fundamentally carried the team and only got stick for it.

There are positives: Mainoo has been a revelation, Onana is getting better, Garnacho continues to contribute, if still a little raw and Rasmus Hojlund has shown that he can score goals. And Dalot could conceivably be our best player this season.

But fundamentally, even when fully fit, United do not possess the players to play in the way that better teams do. With the exception of Martinez, our centre backs are not fast enough, our left back is injury prone, we need some steel in midfield to replace Casemiro and we really need two strikers in the summer to support Rasmus.

It’s often said that no United player would get into any other team in the top six. That’s mostly bullshit but if it is true then can Ten Hag be said to have been given a fair crack of the whip if he’s expected to get poor players into a title challenge?
Ash Metcalfe


Why not have Southgate AND Ten Hag?
Fat Man (Ten Hag is a grade 1 manager – create an environment where HE can thrive, not the little babies on the pitch)


Having seen Ash Metcalfe’s post yesterday regarding Ten Haag isn’t the problem, I see where he is coming from given INEOS have just stepped into the door and have had no previous football experience, but the style of football Ten Haag is playing this season has been dreadful and his man management is shockingly bad. I don’t see how you can decrease in quality so much on the pitch after adding 3-4 players this summer. The 7-0 thrashing at Anfield really did tear a new one into United & Ten Haag, truth be told they still have not recovered from this.

Oh and if McLaren ever became interim manager at United, I think its safe to say I would start supporting Luton Town or Blackburn Rovers, and honestly it wouldn’t surprise me at all with so much rubbish happening behind the scenes.
Rami, Dubai

READ MORE: Premier League matchday 28… Robbie Savage backs Man City to beat Liverpool, Man Utd v Everton


New scouse maths…
Over the last few years, the term ‘scouse maths’ has been consistently used on this site, usually to justify spend in terms of net cost, and on other occasions to mock the efforts of attempting to downplay the actual spend of the club in question. In the case of the former, the calculation is a simple one: spend minus revenue equals net cost.

Just this afternoon I discovered a new sort of scouse maths equation which I am keen to share with my fellow readers and from which I am already reaping immediate rewards. In fact, it enabled me to write this email instead of being otherwise occupied. It reads like this: Liverpool Article + Will Ford = Not Worth Reading (IMHO)

I really hope Trent’s words don’t come back to bite us on the arse on Sunday.. Because, it really would mean more, if Liverpool were to beat City. Really, it would, to Pool fans anyway. I suspect Gooners will be shouting for City, knowing they’ll put up a FIFA type scoreline at the Etihad and then saunter home to the title. Either way, can’t wait.
Dazza, LFC, Dublin #thismeansmore


This means more
The comments under your Trent article were the usual mix of defending and criticising Trent, until one exchange I had. And I need the mailbox to confirm whether there is a shared alternative reality in place at Liverpool or if this is a one off.

I thought THIS MEAN MORE, was understood, putting the rights and wrong of it to one side. Liverpool claim that their wins/trophies mean more to Liverpool fans, than other clubs’ wins/trophies mean to other clubs’ fans. And Trent was piggybacking on this to make a specific comparison that Liverpool’s trophies under Klopp mean more to Liverpool fans than City’s trophies under Pep mean to City fans.

A Liverpool fan however, informed me that Trent was actually saying that Liverpool’s wins/trophies mean more to Liverpool fans than LIVERPOOL’s win/trophies mean to City fans. It is such a statement of the bleeding obvious that if that is what Trent meant, I don’t understand why he would even say it. But I received multiples replies from the same Liverpool fan to tell me I was wrong and he doubled down on this alternative version.

So does THIS MEAN MORE mean what I and the non Liverpool fans think it does? Or is this the most inane brag ever from Liverpool fans? And can I expect Trent to come out with more zingers that Liverpool fans prefer the colour Red more than City fans do? Liverpool fans like Anfield more than City fans? Liverpool fans like a dish of scouse more than City fans?
Andy D. Manchester. MCFC.


Congratulations to Lee for illustrating why the majority of people find the “This Means More tm” cloying arrogance of Liverpool fans so insufferable.

There are 115 reasons why Man City winning the title will be less significant, for a start. In fact, let’s add another – Pep Guardiola, one of the greatest managers the game has seen (as long as he has a limitless chequebook). They have the best players, deepest squad, won the treble last year and in recent history have won the title with 100 points. We all know how they achieved this. They could win the treble for the next ten year and no one will be impressed – the general consensus will be “of course they did”. People are bored of it. Them winning anything carries very little significance, other than another asterix next to this season in a few years time.

Now, Liverpool are doing a phenominal job. They are scraping wins to stay top and I understand that they are the only team to have injuries in the league. Klopp leaving is the story, of course. It is a nice tale wrapped in a bow and the redmen of merseyside will cry tears of disbelief that a man who has spent almost a decade at Liverpool has somehow managed to win his second title, having spent barely any money on his team (£85m on Nunez, £67m on Allison, £75m on Van Dijk, £60m on Szoboszlai, £45m on Jota and Diaz each etc). Other than a fairytale narrative of Klopp winning it, where is the significance? An outlier of a title win as Liverpools slide down the league in the future post Klopp barren lands.

“If arsenal win the title it’s not really as significant an achievement as either of the other two winning it”

Honestly, that is the most ludicrous thing I have read on this website and that is saying something.

Arsenal? Banter club Arsenal winning the league for the first time in 2 decades? The second youngest team in the league? With a manager who is in his FIRST EVER managerial role and is going up against the financially doped plastic behemoth that is City and this, apparently, unstoppable steam train that is Liverpool? You are really saying that is not significant? With a team that has missed four first team players due to injury pretty much every week since Timber went down before half time in the first match of the season? With an academy player leading the charge? An Arsenal side that is experiencing its first season in the Champions League for t 7 years (for now, at least)? A team that lots of people assumed had one good season last year before inevitably heading back towards Europa League obscurity? A team who have the best defence in the league where the goalkeeper is on loan and centre backs that cost a combined £48m? A team with no out and out goal scorer who have scored more goals than anyone else in the league? THAT Arsenal?

Trust me, Arsenal winning the title this year would be hundreds of times more remarkable that City or Liverpool doing it, and would carry huge siginificance. Arteta would become the most sought after manager in the world. It would cement the club as the dominant challenger for the forseeable future. It would show players that making a move to the club like Rice did is the right thing to do. It would encourage talents like Saka and Martinelli to stay at the club. And it would bury 20 years of being a total laughing stock. You would hate it, we would be even more insufferable as a fanbase. No one really seems to think Arsenal will win this league which should tell you everything you need to know about how significant an Arsenal title win would be.

This whole CityPool thing is weird.
John (Red card for Rodri or De Bruyne -I’m not fussy – on Sunday please) Foster, Brighton.


‘This means more’ is just ‘Make America Great Again’ for a (slightly) different group of self-deluded imbeciles.

READ MORE: Liverpool – Man City combined XI… Klopp has three inclusions as Foden, Haaland, Salah lead the line


Bad night for 5th place dream
One of the subplots of this season is the potential 5th place Champions League spot. Currently of great interest to Villa, Spurs and highly optimistic Man United fans, the chance of England getting a 5th spot depends on performance in Europe this season.

Given that England is almost always in the top 2, it seemed like an inevitability at the start of the season, but not so now. With Man United and Newcastle bombing out of Europe, England currently sits in 3rd place, with Italy and Germany in the top 2 places. Looking at this week, here’s the good news and bad news for the English clubs:

Good news:
Villarreal and Real Sociadad went out, which hurts Spain’s chances (currently sitting in 5th in the rankings).
Madrid knocking out Leipzig denies Germany points and Madrid going through is probably fine with the other teams being knocked out.

Bad News:
Bayern going through ahead of Lazio is probably a bad thing, given Germany is in 2nd place and would therefore have been the target to catch.
Brighton losing to an Italian team and West Ham losing to a German team is worst case scenario.
Atalanta and Milan also secured good results, meaning 3 Italian teams in the last 8.
Bayer Leverkusen should be through also.
Fiorentina should be comfortably through in the ECL.

What would help now:
A big week coming up for the 5th place dream. If Villa go through, then a Villa, Liverpool, City trio of cup victories would likely secure a top 2 spot. If that doesn’t happen though, they’ll need some help. Villa fans and (against their better judgement) Spurs fans should be absolutely desperate for Arsenal and West Ham to turn things around and go through. Defeats for Inter, Dortmund and Napoli would also be extremely helpful.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Arsenal injuries
Lee, You’re 100% right.

Luckily for Arsenal Jesus, Partey, Zinchenko, Tomiyasu & Timber have all been ever available and ever present this season.

Otherwise, we’d have had to try 3 or 4 different players at CF, changed 2/3 of our CM and found ourselves playing the last few weeks with our 4th choice LB and having to bring Cedric on because there’s no one to give Ben White cover on the right.

We should thank our lucky stars.

Just because you’re handling them, doesn’t mean you don’t have injuries to contend with.
Doug, AFC, Belfast


Greatest Commentary line ever
For the record and for the removal of all doubt the single greatest line of commentary ever (surely) was when the Penalty shoot out from the 1996 Euros between England and Germany occurred

After Teddy Sheringham scores his pen the somewhat reticent, slightly restrained maybe even resigned voice of the commentator was I believe heard to say the following introductory line to the German players arrival at the penalty spot to take their 5th pen…

Germany, 11, Kuntz

Simple, Accurate and utterly utterly amazing to hear without the spelling… (I have it on T Shirt – Could even be from Jonny Nics shop tbh..)

The greatest spoken line of commentary I ever heard. Simples!

Have a great weekend everyone (That Nunez lad that cant score looks ok right?) Lets hope he can repeat those tricks on Sunday…
Al – LFC