Man Utd: Neville urges Ratcliffe to ‘stick with Ten Hag’ for five reasons with Southgate ‘not suitable’

Jason Soutar
Man Utd legend Gary Neville during punditry duty for Sky Sports
Gary Neville during punditry duty for Sky Sports

Manchester United legend Gary Neville does not think there is a “suitable replacement” to justify sacking under-fire manager Erik ten Hag.

The Red Devils lost again on Sunday, improving on their 4-0 demolition at Crystal Palace in the 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal.

Ten Hag’s side looked a lot more solid defensively and caused the Gunners a few problems but they never tested David Raya, who kept his 16th clean sheet of the season.

As Arsenal go into the final week in the title race, Manchester United know that the highest league position they can finish is sixth.

They host Newcastle United during the week before a trip to Brighton on Sunday, which are two pretty daunting fixtures given the Red Devils’ abysmal form.

While there is not anything too exciting to play for in the Premier League, United have an FA Cup final against rivals Manchester City to prepare for.

Winning that could give Ten Hag the extra time to build for next season and give things a proper go under Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s ownership.

However, as we saw with Louis van Gaal in 2016, it might be worth diddly-squat.

The two names in the frame to replace Ten Hag if he is sacked are Thomas Tuchel and Gareth Southgate, with reports suggesting Ratcliffe is very interested in appointing the latter.

Despite Tuchel’s track record in the Champions League, a competition United will not be in next season, Neville is not convinced.

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The former England right-back believes Ratcliffe should give Ten Hag more time as there is not a “suitable replacement” out there, other clubs are struggling in their respective managerial searches, he has had so many injuries, he had a great debut season at the club, and the Old Trafford job has proven to be a poisoned chalice over the years.

“I don’t see a suitable replacement for Ten Hag available,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“Bayern Munich are struggling to find a replacement, others are struggling. I think we need to stick with Ten Hag and give him one more season – an injury-free season – to see if United can get back to the standards of last season where they won a trophy and finished in the top four.

“Players and managers have struggled to come to terms with Old Trafford in the last 10 years. These players and managers were great when United signed them, so there is something fundamentally wrong that is creating this difficulty.

“Maybe the new ownership and personnel will allow these players and manager to feel more stable.”

Neville was on co-commentary for United’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday and was highly critical of Casemiro for his role in Leandro Trossard’s goal – and rightly so.

Casemiro – again filling in as a centre-back – played Kai Havertz onside after jogging up the pitch having made an angle to receive the ball from Andre Onana in the box.

“Casemiro has got some criticism recently and he’s going to get a little bit more,” Neville said on Sky Sports.

“Brilliant from Arsenal, those Arsenal fans in the corner recognise it’s been a difficult 20 minutes.

“As soon as he goes past [Sofyan] Amrabat, Casemiro has to get up. Look at him jog, you see that ball being played and, once he doesn’t he is in trouble.

“Trossard does what every good wide player does, makes that diagonal run inside the full back, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka is caught out and it’s a simple one in the end.

“Casemiro’s experience in the game, he must have seen the ball had broken down and where Havertz was, he had to get up that bit quicker.”

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