Former Premier League manager Alan Pardew fears Erik ten Hag is facing a “massive problem” at Manchester United and has “nowhere to hide” with his key signings not delivering.
Having claimed a top-four finish and Carabao Cup success in his first year at Old Trafford in 2022/23, Ten Hag has endured a troubled start to his second season in charge.
Saturday’s defeat at home to Crystal Palace means United have lost four of their opening seven matches of the new Premier League season and currently sit 10th, nine points adrift of early leaders Manchester City.
Ten Hag’s side also lost the first game of their Champions League campaign away to Bayern Munich, with United due to host Galatasaray on Tuesday.
Ten Hag’s style of play and the club’s recruitment have both come under scrutiny in light of United’s poor start, with former West Ham and Newcastle boss Pardew claiming the manager must take responsibility for a series of questionable signings.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Pardew also questioned the wisdom behind offering a new five-year contract to Marcus Rashford over the summer.
He said: “The style can somewhat be put to bed if you’ve not got the right players.
“He’s been in charge of the signings from Antony to [Mason] Mount, Casemiro all coming into the team – they’re his players.
“There’s nowhere to hide when they’re your players. I’ve been there, I know that, so when one or two of those are failing it’s a massive, massive problem for you.
“Rashford, I know there’s a lot of moaning about him at the moment. They gave him a bumper new contract. He’s probably in the top 10 [best]-paid players in the country.
“Did he really deserve that contract? Had he done enough in that small period when he was very successful at the back end of last year? I don’t know.
“These are only questions you can ask when you’ve got all the answers, [when you’ve been involved in] the political process of the transfers into Man United, the owners of Man United – everybody involved. It’s a very complicated business.
“But definitely on that pitch at the moment, there doesn’t look like a solution [regarding] the system they’re going to stick to and who are going to be the seven or eight individuals who play every week.
“Who is that seven or eight at Man United who are going to play every week?
“That’s the difference that I see at Man City in particular [as well as] Arsenal [and] Liverpool at the moment. And you can add a few others into that actually: Aston Villa, West Ham, Newcastle are now getting into their stride with the new players that they’ve brought in.
“So it is a worry if you’re a Manchester United fan, for sure.”
United are due to host Brentford in their next Premier League fixture on Saturday, with Thomas Frank’s side memorably inflicting a 4-0 defeat on Ten Hag last season in just his second league game in charge.