Four reasons why Man Utd should not sack Erik ten Hag
From the outside looking in, Manchester United must arguably be one of the most testing clubs to support.
Whenever any glimmer of hope arises, it will almost always be followed by heartache. It was just earlier this week that Man Utd had just won a trio of accolades for November: Harry Maguire picked up the Player of the Month award, Alejandro Garnacho won the Goal of the Month, while Erik ten Hag picked up the Manager of the Month.
Not bad for a club crisis, right? The Red Devils had also just won their most convincing display of the season - beating Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford. Everything was pointing in the right direction, after a terrible result against Newcastle the game before, and during what's been a painstaking season in general.
But then they welcomed Bournemouth at home on Saturday - in what was their worst display of the campaign so far - the bandaid was torn off and what showed was still the same problems as before. They lost 3-0 but it could have easily been 4-0. It was a horrendous display, with no player coming away with any credibility. They all were, in fact, booed off the pitch at Old Trafford. Now Man Utd face Bayern Munich in their final Champions League group match on Tuesday night, where they are likely to be knocked out, before playing Liverpool at Anfield.
But even if they are defeated in these games, Man Utd must not sack Ten Hag. Here are four reasons why.
Man Utd would be continuing a vicious cycle
Man Utd sacking their head coach to replace with another in the hope of turning around their fortunes is something they have done for over ten years. From David Moyes to Louis van Gaal, it has never worked. The constant recycling of coaches, amid a background of leaks from the dressing room, empowers the Man Utd squad to believe that they can be rid of whoever they choose, with their hefty wage packets protected. Nothing changes if nothing changes and Man Utd must go a different route to what they have done before to see another result.
The Mikel Arteta factor
In this day and age, it can just take a bad month for a head coach to be removed. Most coaches go through hard times - even Sir Alex Ferguson did when he first joined the club - but it takes time to bed in a winning culture. The best example is Mikel Arteta. It was a tricky first couple of seasons for the Spaniard - it didn’t happen overnight. There is still some way to go for Arsenal but there’s no question that they are title contenders. If Man Utd could afford Ten Hag the same patience, perhaps the future will be a lot brighter than the present.
The club needs stability ahead of the takeover
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s impending partial takeover of the club has not helped. So many at the club are unsure about their future - whether they will even be playing for Man Utd next season.
This lack of clarity has naturally affected performances on the pitch. With the announcement still not made and the new recruitment team not in their stations, it would be utterly pointless to find a new head coach. Even in a pragmatic sense, the new board must give Ten Hag time, if only to save themselves a headache down the line. Whatever Ten Hag does now is the Glazer’s fault, if they get someone too soon and get it wrong, the knock-on effect could mean another dour season at Old Trafford - but this time they will be to blame.
Ten Hag's achievements last season can not be ignored
We can’t get away from the fact it’s been a torrid season. Things have gone wrong and both the players and coach alike are to blame for this. Ten Hag was never going to win Man Utd the Premier League title when he arrived from Ajax but he has shown that he is capable of offering a degree of competence.
He came into Man Utd after Ralf Rangick, with the club landing its worst-ever Premier League finish. From that, he took them back into the Champions League, ahead of the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea, and even won the League Cup, defeating a reinvigorated Newcastle. It was a tremendous inaugural campaign for the Dutchman. He’s no elite coach but he’s the one they need for the right now.