Man Utd: Ten Hag attempts to save job with Liverpool plan; Brailsford ‘yet to grasp’ task

Joe Williams
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag during the Red Devils' FA Cup semi-final against Coventry.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag has ‘pinpointed the resurgence of Liverpool this season’ in an effort to convince the Red Devils hierarchy to keep him on, according to reports.

The Red Devils have had a disappointing second season under the Dutchman after he took them to an FA Cup final, League Cup silverware and a top-four finish in the Premier League.

But Man Utd crashed out of Europe before Christmas this campaign by finishing bottom of their Champions League group, while they are currently sixth in the Premier League.

A win on penalties against Championship Coventry City in their FA Cup semi-final last weekend did little to enthuse fans as they now face arch-rivals Man City in the final.

Ten Hag is under huge pressure to turn around poor performances and Man Utd were generally quite good against a rock-bottom Sheffield United side on Wednesday, despite conceding two goals in a 4-2 win.

‘INEOS would prefer not to have to add to their to-do list’

Reaching an FA Cup final and beating a team bottom of the table is unlikely to save Ten Hag, however, ESPN journalist Mark Ogden insists INEOS and Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘would prefer not to have to add’ a new managerial appointment ‘to their to-do list’ this summer.

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Ogden claims:

‘Everything revolves around the fate of Ten Hag, but the Dutchman could yet save himself by ending the season well and winning the FA Cup. Sources have said that with so many issues to address this summer, Ineos would prefer not to have to add to their to-do list by seeking a new manager, but Ten Hag’s future is unquestionably in the balance.

‘Results will be the determining factor, but his relationship with key players, which has been turbulent at times, is another element that will decide his future. Sources have said that Ten Hag believes that the addition of younger and fitter players, particularly in midfield, could have a transformative effect on his team and that he has pinpointed the resurgence of Liverpool this season, following the signings of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch, as evidence of how strategic recruitment can quickly change a team’s fortunes.’

Former performance director of British Cycling Sir Dave Brailsford is currently the director of sport at INEOS and is working closely with staff at Man Utd.

But Ogden has revealed that Brailsford currently seems out of his depth, the ESPN journalist adds:

‘One source has told ESPN that Brailsford has yet to grasp the full extent of the task facing Ineos at Old Trafford, and that his lack of football expertise has created a vacuum that will only be filled once Ashworth and Berrada begin their roles. Ratcliffe, Brailsford and Joel Glazer have formed a three-man leadership group and they will oversee all significant decisions. So while the Glazers have taken a back seat, their influence as majority shareholders should not be overlooked.’