Man Utd should sack Ten Hag but look at these four players…

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Erik ten Hag and several Man Utd players
Erik ten Hag and several Man Utd players

Erik ten Hag as Manchester United manager is now pretty much untenable but look at the players he has inherited…

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Man Utd = Taylor Swift
So it turn out that Taylor Swift’s new album sounds like one bland song on repeat for two hours. This coming after guaranteed entertainment throughout the middle 2000’s. That’s United today – the same old song on endless repeat.

Everything has ben said that needs to be said already. Just to add I’ve never felt flat and deflated like this after a WIN FFS.

Oh, and scrap VAR now. Just do it. You know it makes sense.
ET King (MUFC)

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Man Utd collapse is turning point for Ten Hag
– A win that feels like a loss, but is still a trip to a final and an opportunity for a trophy. While most United fans would take that, the narrative is important. And it could have been such a simple afternoon. Stroll to a 3-0, or even a 3-1 and no one really says anything other than ‘good professional job’. Instead, it’s this United. So the question is, who gets the blame?

– I’ve had several emails kindly published that no manager in the world could get the XI that ETH consistently has available to him to play amazing football, and I maintain that broadly this season he has an older, extensively trimmed version of Ole’s squad and plays accordingly. You cannot play modern football with Maguire in the back four. You cannot develop attacking play down the wing when AWB is involved. You cannot seize control of midfield with McTominay, who isn’t a midfielder. ETH has had absolutely incredible luck with injuries and a lack of players brought in (not money spent).

– But. And I think yesterday was a corner-turn for me, the manager is also in charge of mentality. And strolling into a cup final, after an extremely-controlled, calm 3-0 lead is not a position at which you expect a good team to collapse. And collapse United did. And part of that weakness has to stem from the manager, and how he’s able to generate cohesion in the team.

– That said, what should he have done? Garnacho was presumably withdrawn to give him a rest – he’s playing his first season and United have a midweek match. Antony should be a great choice at 3-0 up, and add solidity. Mainoo barely ever plays the full 90 because he’s a child. Both decisions seem sensible. Instead Eriksen brings tidy passing as long as it doesn’t involve having to get the ball or move at all, and suddenly United have no midfield. The enforcer is stuck in defense due to the 6 injuries there. I follow United’s youth setup and couldn’t tell you who 3 of the subs are. This squad is toast, there are no options.

– And the debate then has to swing to the left side of the pitch. Which featured one of the highest-paid players in world football, and one of the most expensive full backs. That ‘display’ from Marcus Rashford should be the final straw. He didn’t run. He didn’t press. When he received the ball he walked, stopped, or played it backwards. He didn’t help defend at all, constantly leading to overlaps on his side. He added nothing. He was an anti-winger. He was an anti-footballer. At Wembley, in a semi-final, as one of the most experienced players on the pitch. It was so embarrassing he faked an injury and subbed himself.

– And then we have AWB. Let us run through his afternoon: first goal, out of position and the cross comes in easily from his side. Second goal closes his eyes, turns his back on a shot like any good 7 year old. Third goal – ok more on that in a moment. ‘Fourth’ goal, inexplicably almost plays onside the winger for absolutely no reason, has 10 yards and a perfect view. He was diabolically bad. For all his ability to tackle, he seems to not understand football at all.

– On that third goal: can we all agree it was great for narrative, excellent for entertainment and also a complete and utterly terrible call? If that is a handball, but the Romero earlier in the season is not, I challenge you to explain the handball rule. No one can. It’s a mistake, easily made by the referee given his body position before the actual handball. That VAR can’t overturn that due to some imaginary barrier that only applies when it wants to on clear and obvious – what is the point? If an incorrectly-awarded penalty in added time of a cup final isn’t the time to use tech to make up for a tired ref making a bad call, when is?

– So I arrive back at my conundrum. ETH is being forced to field players that are not good enough, not giving enough and therefore the football is poor. It’s not rocket-science. I’m not sure there’s anything at all he could do better with this broken squad, but he also needs to go, because the squad is so broken. Harsh, but that’s what being at the top is like.
Ryan, Bermuda

👉 Man Utd humiliated in win over Coventry as Ten Hag subs result in Wembley capitulation
👉 Man Utd: Neville makes ‘extreme’ Ten Hag sack claim; Carragher insists Cov display ‘cost’ him job
👉 Ten Hag heading for sack but just look at the leading contenders for Man Utd job…

…Ok, nothing new to start off with, that Utd game was the last straw for me in watching the E10H shitshow.

I think Jim Radcliffe and co are probably leaving him alone while they look for a shiny replacement in the background. While I was happy for LVG to bring us a long awaited FA Cup in his last game, I don’t feel Erik deserves that so I was wondering who utd could bring as caretaker manager for one game.

Cantona, Beckham, Rooney, give Ole another crack for one game. How about Roy Keane? Peter Schmeichel? The Neville brothers, Ted Lasso, Donald Trump, or maybe just pic a random fan, they can’t do any worse.

Ultimately City are winning the FA Cup without a miraculous inspiring team talk from someone as well as a shit ton of luck so why not take a punt on a past player,

I know it won’t happen but it would be funny.
Jon, Cape Town


…I haven’t watched much football over the past one year and every time I have watched United, they have almost always been atrocious. The CL semi-final between Real Madrid and City was a treat to watch and compared to the immense work rate each of those teams put in, Munchester United this season looks like a team of amateurs playing football at the local park. How many of them are earning a living off it, let alone the ginormous wages each of them is receiving, is beyond me.

Which brings me to Ten Hag. He’s set himself up to be a no nonsense manager ready to discipline even the biggest stars at the smallest hint of indiscipline, be it Sancho or Ronaldo. But for such a manager, how are the performances of Rashford on the pitch acceptable in terms of the work rate (or lack of it) and the failure to backtrack acceptable and not be met with the same treatment as some of the other players were given? Sancho has not been the best signing but judging on recent performances, I would rather have him on the team than Rashford.

Is it perhaps that as long as you are sweet to Ten Hag off the pitch and follow his rules re punctuality etc, what you do in training or on the pitch, counts for very little, if at all?

Moyes must be looking at this team and thinking even I was a better manager than this one.


Ten Hag out? No way
United fans calling for ETH head
need to give theirs a wobble, 3 nil up with 20 minutes to go he takes of two kids and brings on two international footballers to see out a game, you would expect players with the experience they had to be able to see out a game for 20 minutes. Garnacho and Mainoo have been excellent but that is part of the problem, we are relying on two young players to pull us out of the shit every bloody week, where is the vitriol for players who can’t pass a ball 10 yards accurately?

Rashford strolled around and didn’t try the entire game, that from a suppose United fan and Carrington Academy Graduate. As bad a United were after conceding an excellent first goal a wicked deflection and a dodgy penalty are what amounts to another day at the office for this team, seems them kind of penalties only apply to one side of Manchester.

Lastly the calls for VAR to be scrapped after Coventry had an offside goal disallowed were strangely muted when they got a dodgy penalty, Dixon in his co-comms actually said, come on ref just give them the benefit FFS, I know United tend to boil a lot of piss at the best of times but Jesus wept let’s just give Coventry the game. seems balance doesn’t count when United are in town.
Paul Murphy, Manchester

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Is it unfair to pin the blame on Erik ten Hag? Join the debate here

Celebrate good times…come on
Hojlund scores the winning penalty to take Manchester United to the FA Cup final! Cue mass hysteria, players hurtling down the length of the pitch in spite of the toll that 120 minutes takes on even the most athletic of bodies. They want to celebrate, they can’t control themselves! They won’t even remember the rush down field as Hojlund gets crushed in a relief-driven fog of joy!.. Oh, what’s that? It’s just Eriksen jogging over for a high-five. How nice!


Kid stuff
My son’s U11 team played in a semi-final yesterday. They started really well, and took the lead, but the other team pegged them back almost immediately, and after that completely dominated. None of our players were at the races, and a few of them looked like they’d rather have been somewhere else. The score ended up 5:1, and frankly it flattered us.

However, at the end of the match, our coach discovered that the opposition manager hadn’t registered his team sheet with the London FA beforehand, which meant that none of their players were technically eligible to play. The game was awarded 3:0 to us, and they’re in the final in two weeks.

Cycling back with my son and two of his pals, they were delighted and effusive, and I made a point of cutting that short. I explained to them that they were an absolute disgrace, had nothing to celebrate, and if they play like that in the final they’ll be destroyed. And no, they can’t have McDonald’s on the way home.

Not sure why I decided that was germane to the wider football debate, but there you go.
Dara O’Reilly, London


A rare Coventry e-mail
If you had told me, or any other Coventry City fan, after the relegation to League 2 in 2017 that in seven years we would take Manchester United to the absolute brink in an FA Cup Semi-Final, I would have put in an immediate call to the nearest mental health facility.

To see ourselves on the world stage when not that long ago we were playing at Sixfields, is testament to the incredible accomplishments of Mark Robins and his team since he returned to us seven years ago. The sell-out Coventry end that boomed beginning to end and stayed behind to applaud the team in agonising defeat is testament to the incredible fanbase that exists in this city. That the players left absolutely everything they had on the pitch and came within a toenail of the greatest achievement in FA Cup history is testament to the watertight, never-say-die attitude that now exists in a club that not that long ago had completely given up.

Yesterday was heartbreaking, to say the least, but what an honour it was to witness probably the greatest game I will ever see live.

Going into the game, I knew our chances of a win were slim but what I wanted was at least one goal for the fans to celebrate, and for us to have a go, compete and make the far better team on paper sweat. We gave them far too much respect at first but when we made the triple substitution the atmosphere changed. We didn’t compete, we dominated; they didn’t sweat, they were petrified, knackered and rattled. We didn’t lose honourably; we should have won, and every single Manchester United player, staff and fan knows it.

The ludicrous antics of Onana, Fernandes and Antony during and after the penalty shootout just shows how thoroughly our little outfit got under their skin, and demonstrates how aware they were that by all rights they should have lost the game, and there is so much to be proud of in that.

In the aftermath of the insane decision to disallow the fourth goal, to see the universal condemnation of the decision, to see the injustice that our team now has to reconcile be discussed on worldwide platforms, is heartwarming.

A top-tier human experience is celebrating a huge goal with complete strangers, and the utterly bonkers celebrations after the offside goal, during which I fell backwards behind the chairs and was probably lucky not to break both my legs, will live with me forever. If I could bottle the feeling we all had after the equaliser, that feeling that we had achieved the improbable but that anything was possible in that moment, I think I would be a millionaire.

I am indescribably proud of every single person with any association with Coventry City, and would not swap my relationship with this club, or my place amongst the Sky Blue Army, for anything.

PS: I hope, and expect, that City will utterly batter United in the final.
Adrian (Coventry City fan)


Why would Attwell try to torpedo Forest?
One thing that seems to have been glossed over in the response to Forest’s insane Luton supporting VAR conspiracy theory – and I’ve seen a few people mention it’s fair to call on the integrity of selected referee’s team allegiances – is why on earth Stuart Attwell would have chosen Nottingham Forest to pick on in his one man quest to surreptitiously keep Luton up.

Everton started the day one point above Forest and two above Luton, and still have to visit Kenilworth Road. The difference it made to Luton who won that game or whether it ended in a draw is so negligible with four games to go that it only adds to the craziness to picture Attwell sitting there crunching the numbers in real time as to which team to torpedo to get the best result for his team.

One can only assume after the third penalty he was kicking himself because he could have completely reversed the result if he’d only known there would be three at the start.

He did do his job poorly, mind.
Owen Davidson


If you’re moaning about VAR, you have lost already
Interesting points from Ben Rushworth about the Forest meltdown – it is just for clicks, however I, as an Everton fan must point out the irony of Forest complaining about not getting penalties against Everton!

Everton, the team who have had just 1 penalty awarded this while season, and still missed! I think we only got one the year before. Remember Andy Johnson and the media witch hunt for him? We didn’t get any after she Ra moaned about him diving on motd.

Remember Niasse? Retrospectively banned for diving, then punished one more person, then forgot all about it. Ill try not to say owt about “contracts for life” Peirluigi Collina…….

I mean if any club deserved to cry conspiracy, it’s us. Yet we don’t because we recognise that we’re not doing enough to win games.

If you’re moaning about refs and conspiracies then you didn’t do enough to win the game. Get over it, move on. We have, but we’re not bitter oh no…..
Fat Man


VAR from perfect
If Coventry were the fairy tale, VAR was the Wicked Witch’s toenail. Again.

Bladey Mick (Only 5 more humiliations to go….)

READ: You cannot polish the turd that is VAR; just flush it down the toilet


Polishing that VAR turd
VAR will be improved and it’s not going anywhere. Starting next season, Premier League referees will reportedly explain VAR decisions to fans during games and the FIFA’s Semi-Automated Offside Technology will be implemented which is a big plus. The one extra thing needed from next season is to let the VAR panel vote on the on-field decisions which needs to be reviewed which is easy giving that there are currently 3 referees on the panel. Mind you, PGMOL are so useless they might implement this idea but add one extra ref to the panel!


…This won’t be a particularly well thought out e-mail but the VAR problem could be resolved with a little common sense.

The whole point of the offside rule was to prevent attackers hanging around the goal mouth to poach easy goals. It was never to check if a player has mistimed their run by half a second but overtime it has evolved into that for some reason. In my opinion tight offsides make the sport more difficult but not better. Why not just say if a player scores and there is a VAR check showing there is day light between the torso of the last defender and the attacker, then it is offside. If there is no daylight between them, give the advantage to the attacker.

The whole point of the sport is entertainment and goals equals fun. Nobody ever wanted VAR used for marginal offsides, it was for clear and obvious mistakes. Again, common sense tells you that if you have to slow the play down and freeze frame to make a decision it is not clear and obvious. There is nothing that I have stated above which hasn’t been discussed at length already by basically everyone.

Many people have said it before and I will say it again, VAR is being purposely misused to get it thrown out. The refereeing officials don’t want it because it is a clear stepping stone towards fully autonomous refereeing. Which means no more cushy well paid jobs for the boys, expense accounts, trips to Dubai and whatever other jollies and benefits are involved. Corruption is the plague of mankind and must be sought out and extinguished wherever present and the implementation of VAR is no different.
Seamus, Sweden


Palace chat
Imagine conceding five goals to a team that scores on average 1.15 per game and somehow not being the most embarrassed or embarrassing team of the day.

*Yeah I had a pretty good Sunday. Crystal Palace and West Ham United isn’t really a rivalry and if we’re honest, it’s not a “London derby”. Most of the rivalry, such as it is, comes off the field, as for a long time it has seemed like United’s transfer policy has been to wait for Palace to be linked with someone and offer them more money. It gets old. United have played in European competitions in recent years but Palace have a reasonable record against them: going into yesterday’s games the last ten meetings had seen the Eagles claim four wins and four draws.

*Oliver Glasner is still not able to play his ideal first XI; still using a 3-4-2-1, Chris Richards returned from injury to play in the back three in place of Jefferson Lerma, who sustained an injury against Liverpool, with Nathaniel Clyne on the other side of Joachim Andersen. Glasner would make a point of praising Andersen and Clyne after the match.

Most crucially, he was able to start Eberechi Eze, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Michael Olise as his front three, and they combined superbly, bagging four of the five goals through a series of great combinations.

*I was most impressed by the variety of the goals, as it was this that United had no answer for. There was patient build up dragging players out of position, there was counterattacking and there were balls into dangerous areas. On top of all that, there was an acrobatic volley.

It wasn’t a perfect performance, given the goals that were conceded, and the first was more frustrating than the second. An inability to be physical enough at a set piece led to Michail Antonio bullying the ball home and is a more urgent problem to address than the second, a comedy own goal that is forgivable at 5-1.

*If this Palace performance was something no one saw coming, then John Nicholson tweeting about David Moyes and being careful what you wish for was the complete opposite. The parameters are different but West Ham with Moyes are in a similar position to the one Palace got in to with Roy Hodgson, in that he has taken the Hammers to his ceiling, not theirs, but there are plenty of people (including Moyes) who will tell you these are one and the same.

*That said, things have been coming together under Glasner and this was a day when everything clicked. Mateta has found his groove and has scored six goals in his last eight games. Like the best batters in cricket, Eze and Olise just seem to have a bit more time than everyone else, and the team have found a reserve of stamina to stay in games right to the end.

*I don’t remember their real heyday but I remember Nottingham Forest being a top flight team and a reasonably good one at that. With the exceptions of Derby County, Liverpool and various Yorkshire clubs, generally the footballing public was sympathetic towards them. At their best they were a club people admired, either for their approach to football or their achievements. It’s remarkable then, that they seem determined to become the least likeable club in the Premier League.

Their statement after losing against Everton was at once pathetic and incredibly dangerous. Let’s not pretend this is about fairness, it’s about wanting every decision to go their way no matter what. Also, if those non-penalties were so crucial, how come they don’t feature in Forest’s official highlights video?
Ed Quoththeraven

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