Man Utd have seven defenders missing; how is sacking Ten Hag the answer?

Editor F365
Ten Hag, Casemiro and Jonny Evans for Man Utd
Ten Hag, Casemiro and Jonny Evans for Man Utd

We have some defences of Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag as well as views on David Moyes and Borussia Dortmund.

Send your views on any and all subjects to


Look at those sodding injuries, though
I’m not going to write in here and claim that was a good performance, or that this season has been a success, but I do think people are being a bit quick to dance on United’s grave without really commenting on the injury situation.

Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Maguire, Lindelof, Malacia, Kambwala. All unavailable. We’ve had to rush back our 36yo emergency back-up to be the senior defender alongside an out-of-position Casemiro. Would you expect Arsenal to get a result at a resurgent Palace if they had Thomas Partey and Rob Holding at centre-half?

As soon as I saw our line-up, I knew we’d lose, because how can you not when that’s the case? There’s a knock on effect too; it’s been like this for months (14 different centre-back pairings), which is bound to affect morale and confidence, and it’s also meant the players that are fit have been run into the ground. The likes of Mainoo, Garnacho and Dalot have had to play every minute of every game.

I’ve been a United fan for 35 years and this is the worst season I’ve ever known for injuries. It doesn’t excuse everything, but Alan Smith on co-comms can probably dial down the incredulity when a half fit, out of position, combined 68yo makeshift centre back pairing gets taken apart by an athletic, confident Palace team at home.
Lewis, Busby Way

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Defending Ten Hag
I appreciate the enjoyment many football fans are now having at the feeding trough of Man Utd’s struggles. It is indeed a feast fit for kings with delights on offer than many who remember the 90s and 00s probably never imagined they would ever tickle their taste buds with. The media are only too happy to join in, as clicks and engagement feed their machine, and every pundit is also shoving their face into the debate with soundbites for the same reason. But I do feel that there is perspective needed, and it is far too easy, and incorrect, to put all the blame on Ten Hag.

Yes, he has made mistakes – in my opinion he should have shown trust in one of the best youth academy’s in the world, blooded some youngsters in their natural positions, rather than trusting experience and playing players out of position – but ALL managers make errors. And it was his prerogative.

What Ten Hag is doing is exposing this team, and its players, in attempting to play a more modern style. And it shows that the team is simply not good enough at it. Which is no bad thing. The tactics and the structure is there, the team shape, the movements on the pitch, the positions the players are asked to take up, but that only takes you so far if the players make basic errors, or can’t pass accurately over 10 yards, or when they cower and play safe when they should be progressive, or (crucially) when they don’t have the ability to play this way.

The biggest impact to this has been the injuries in our defence where the players most capable of playing out progressively from the back (Martinez, Shaw, Varane) have been missing for so much of the season. But it is now clear where and how the team has to improve.

In a recent interview, Solskjaer said pretty much the same thing. He’d got the side so far, but when he tried to get them to play “the Man Utd way”, they got trounced and he realised they could not do it. It cost him his job – Ten Hag is doing the same but I hope it does not cost him his.

The most stinging criticism of this current side is that you could count on one hand the number of players that the other teams in the top 8 would take. That is the job at hand, and changing the manager now won’t fix that. I enjoyed the Fergie years, and for that I’m grateful, but now is the time for patience. It will take time to get it right, and there will be bumps in the road, but we finished 3rd last season and have been to 3 cup finals in 2 years. Take it on the chin and trust it will come good.
Phil (It’s not all doom and gloom) MUFC

📣TO THE COMMENTS! Should Man Utd sack Erik ten Hag? Join the debate here


Where is the Antony heat?
As a non-ManYoo supporter, I’ve frequently been amused by Badwolf’s missives to the Mailbox, but he’s outdone himself this time, with “…..and Antony who blows hot and cold like May in the North.”

When the juddering f*ck has Antony blown hot?!?
Stewart, Chicago


THIS is Manchester United Football Club
Why are Man Utd fans so irate with their current teams performances and league position? This who Man Utd actually are.

Aside from the tenures of SAF and Sir Matt, Man Utd have been a generally mediocre club. A mid-table finish, the odd relegation, a Cup win every decade – THAT is the real Man Utd.

Why are we holding EtH to the standards of SAF and Sir Matt? Why not compare him to Tommy Doherty, Frank O’Farrell or Wilf McGuinness? How about David Moyes – that seems like a fairer comparison.

Utd are now back to where they belong, chasing the top teams in the league with the odd cup run thrown in. The glory days are over and they ain’t coming back for a longggg time. Get used to it.
Lassie Maven


…I read (with some amusement) the clamour for ETH to be sacked by MUFC. Why???

Last I looked MU were 8th in the premiership so they are ahead of 12 other (worse?) teams who presumably all have to sack their managers.

Oh well, at least that will give MU plenty of options for a replacement for ETH.

As for the owners – the Glazers. Again, why would you want them to depart. They don’t interfere with the day-to-day management at Old Trafford. I’d be far more concerned about this new Ratcliffe guy who seems to want to tear down everything that has been built over the past decades. I shudder to imagine the consequences of his meddling.

Nope – leave things as they are. It might not be perfect but it could also be a heck of a lot worse. Ask Bolton, Blackburn, Oldham and dozens of others. Be grateful for what you’ve got.

Yes, I’m a Man City supporter!
Only Me


Arsenal should destroy Man Utd
No disrespect intended here but ManYoo are a shambles, have to say. It was pretty incredible watching certain of their fans offering “mitigation” for a 4-0 spanking at Palace. No not Citeh at Etihad, not Anfield – Palace! F

rom a neutral perspective, seems abundantly clear that ETH is failing and won’t improve, no evidence of that trajectory. The one thing I’d caution ManYoo fans against, is falling into the same trap of lowering standards that Arsenal did under Wenger for years. Most of us still remember those cult-ish Arsenal fans who unfurled a “In Arsene We Trust” banner for their Dear Leader, immediately after an 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford. That was clearly ridiculous and once you’re ok excusing that, then you’re just fine excusing further thrashings (6-0, 10-2, 5-1 etc etc). All can be explained via “financial doping”, “injuries” or some other such nonsense.

ManYoo are a massive club and there is no parallel universe in which a club of that size, that has spent the GDP equivalent of Burundi on squad investment over a decade, should be that inept. 4-0 at Palace, really? Ok.

One tiny ray of light for ManYoo fans though: some might dread facing Arsenal this Sunday but in reality, should they? I ask only because I can recall abysmal iterations of ManYoo under first Moyes, then LVG, then Mourinho course, then caretaker Carrick, then oh right, ETH literally last season….facing Arsenal teams at Old Trafford, with Arsenal heavy favourites to win. And guess what happened on each and every occasion? You guessed it: Arsenal defeat!

In theory, Arsenal should comfortably be thrashing ManYoo on Sunday, and it should be over by half-time, especially if Casemiro or Evans plays. In reality, there’s something about Arsenal teams’ mentality when visiting Anfield and Old Trafford. Maybe it’s different this time (although was supposed to be different this time eg vs a weaker Bayern in CL wasn’t it?) We shall see though.

It’ll be academic in terms of winning the PL of course, but Arsenal absolutely should be laying down a marker down on Sunday. It’s an opportunity to exact comprehensive vengeance on a historic rival already on the beach, with their thoughts focused on a cup final, in appalling form, low on confidence, a clearly-outgoing manager and a plethora of injuries. No excuse not to do so (although rest assured they’ll come thick and fast if they somehow don’t! 😉)
Stewie Griffin (The 41 year-old novice Dortmund manager has taken a team that spent only €60m over summer, sold Bellingham for €100m, and playing with geriatric Emre Can in DM along with ManYoo rejects Sancho and Sabitzer. And he’s in a CL final, schooling an “oil money petrostate” team in the semis. But tell me again about Arteta’s amazing “achievements” with just €600m! 😂)


Relief at Moyes exit
Now that he is finally gone, I feel no jubilation, just an exhausted sense of relief. It’s over.

For all the “careful what you wish for”, “look at his percentages”, “he won you a trophy” people, which, staggeringly, still includes a lot of people who are actually paid to watch football, here’s a question.

Would you want Moyes as your manager? He’s available. He won a major trophy. Any top 6 sides want him? Spuds? You’ve won nothing (god we all know that!) for 20+ years, why don’t you take him on? Anyone in the top half maybe? What about the bottom half? Everton? He has history (a long and boring one) with you, and surely he’s better than Dyche. Right? Anyone? He’s been top half 3 years in a row, come on. What about the relegated teams? Fancy pinning your hopes on Moyes to bring you back up? Promoted clubs? Thought not.

So please, tell me again, why should we continue to let him mismanage our team which includes several world class players, a youth team which won the cup last year (almost ALL of which he has completely alienated) and a top 20 European revenue?

Goodbye Moyes. Enjoy mumbling to yourself about how the fans didn’t back you and you aren’t appreciated etc etc and so on. We are no longer listening.
Mike, WHU (still zero years since last trophy)

READ: West Ham split from Moyes is right decision but the man deserves a send-off…


The Monstars Super League
The conversation about expanding European Club Football competition to USA (or Asia or ME) will never go away. We can debate the pros and cons of it but it will eventually happen in some form. But I have a suggestion for all our European clubs looking to further tap a global market. Expand to Basketball.

Basketball is bigger across Europe than most give it credit for. Most of the major European clubs have significant Basketball teams playing in European Leagues at a pretty high level. With the influx of US ownership and hedge funds that want growth + diversification, why not look to create Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Villa, Newcastle (etc etc) Basketball teams?

It would be the perfect way to create a new avenue for club expansion and revenue streams. There is a lot of room for the sport to grow in UK, Europe. It would also help the sport to grow in the rest of the world as they can associate their football loyalties to the respective basketball teams rather than have to support an NBA team. Massive potential for TV money (high volume of games). There will be no objection to playing these overseas (which would also help the Football brand).

It might not start with the levels of money there is in the NBA but it could still be quite competitive. And the growth potential is unlimited. NBA might push back, but that just means you have a good idea.

It will be relatively low risk and a very high reward possibility. I would think Todd Bohely and his crew would be all over something like this. With ideas like this, I should be working for him, earning millions, rather than writing this email from home.
Hats (I don’t even like Basketball, apart from NBA JAM on SNES)


Oops sorry
A fact check on Jason Soutar’s Dortmund/PSG article. In it he states that “PSG did hit the woodwork 200 times across both legs after all”
Convention dictates that PSG did actually strike the woodwork 427 times.
Eoin (tradition matters) Ireland


Could Newcastle be a Dortmund?
As a Newcastle fan watching the Champions League Semi between PSG and Dortmund, I was taken back to our ‘group of death’ experience.

Milan – baptism of fire first game but hung on, should have won 2nd game but we went for it and went out (team were done in at this point in season)

PSG – battered them first game, hung on for our lives 2nd game but were ultimately shafted by VAR

Dortmund – a little unlucky first game (hit the post a couple of times) and then deservedly beaten 2nd game

Reason I listed it out is I wanted to highlight that Dortmund were by far the best team we played. The patterns of play they had and organisation that was seemingly steeped in their playing style was a pleasure to watch, and really highlighted the gap between up-and-coming team in Newcastle, vs established league & UCL big hitters in Dortmund. It’s exciting to think we could be in this position in the near future (weirdly I get more excited about being a Dortmund-type team than anything else).

What does this say about the Bundesliga? Leverkusen probably the best team in Europe this season (might have even won the UCL if they’d been in), Bayern ‘crap’ season but potentially UCL Winners, Dortmund average domestically but potential UCL winners. I know league strength comes in peaks & troughs but all three have been absolutely brilliant this season and deserve that extra Champions League space.

Massively rooting for them to win, as much as I’d love to see Kane win his trophy.
Harry, York