Ten Hag ‘fortunate’ as Man Utd had pre-FA Cup final manager ‘meeting’; Chelsea ‘forced their hand’

Lewis Oldham
Ten Hag Ratcliffe Man Utd
Erik ten Hag and Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

According to reports, Manchester United club chiefs had a ‘meeting’ with a Premier League manager before their FA Cup final win against Manchester City.

Erik ten Hag was under pressure for most of the 2023/24 campaign as Man Utd endured a rough season. They struggled in the Champions League before they finished eighth in the Premier League.

The Red Devils reached the FA Cup final but it was widely reported ahead of this match that Ten Hag would lose his job even if his side beat arch-rivals Manchester City at Wembley.

Man Utd produced one of their best performances of the season against City as they beat their local rivals 2-1 to win the FA Cup.

In the weeks following this shock result, Man Utd have had an internal review as they considered whether to sack Ten Hag, with Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel and Gareth Southgate mooted as potential replacements.

It’s been claimed that Man Utd’s hierarchy have had talks with several potential replacements but it was revealed on Tuesday night that they are sticking with Ten Hag, who is now expected to pen a new contract. 

Liverpool journalist James Pearce has pointed out on social media that Ten Hag is “fortunate” to keep his job. He said: “Ten Hag remarkably fortunate to keep his job.

“Eighth place = United’s lowest league position since 1989-90. Conceded a club record 58 goals in a Premier League season. Finished a league campaign with a negative goal difference for the first time since 1989-90.”

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The Telegraph have a detailed report on potential replacements considered by Man Utd, with a ‘meeting’ held with one candidate before the FA Cup final.

‘Erik ten Hag was probably unaware that, on the same day he would board a train to London with his players for an FA Cup final the bookmakers and few others gave Manchester United much of a chance of winning, there were club officials meeting representatives of the Brentford manager Thomas Frank.

‘It was not a scenario anyone of a United persuasion would have chosen but Mauricio Pochettino’s exit from Chelsea a few days earlier had forced their hand to some extent.

‘Frank, like the Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna with whom United had also been in contact, was of interest to the west London club at the time as well and United – unsure if they would stick with Ten Hag – needed to sound out potential replacements.

‘McKenna and Frank were not alone. Thomas Tuchel, Roberto De Zerbi, Gareth Southgate and Pochettino himself had also attracted varying degrees of interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos team.

‘For all the conversations with – and about – potential successors, though, it was clear that United did not feel there was an outstanding candidate out there to replace Ten Hag, or at least one who was readily available to them. Had there been, there are serious doubts the former Ajax coach would now be gearing up for what seems certain to be an intriguing third season in charge, and one it is clear many fans believe he at least deserved a stab at.’

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