Thomas Tuchel would be Erik ten Hag 2.0 at Man Utd

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 23 Apr 2024 13:32 BST
  • 5 min read
Thomas Tuchel, Erik ten Hag, Antony, Man Utd

Talk of Thomas Tuchel potentially replacing Erik ten Hag at Manchester United is increasingly picking up steam.

German media claimed on Monday that new Red Devils co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe personally contacted the departing Bayern Munich boss to enquire about his availability for the upcoming campaign. It is claimed that the INEOS chief values Tuchel highly despite his ill-fated recent stints at Chelsea and in Munich.

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Ten Hag, for his part, is essentially on trial for the next month after Man Utd's shocking collapse against Championship side Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinal when they were only saved from ultimate embarrassment by VAR and a penalty shootout after letting a 3-0 lead slip.

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New technical director Jason Wilcox is leading a month-long audit on Ten Hag's work and dressing room relations and will eventually present his findings to Ratcliffe and company. A decision on whether to persist with the Dutchman or to make a change will then be made.

Tuchel, it has been claimed, is rated highly, though there is an acceptance that he can be a difficult character. In recent weeks, Tuchel has been said to be gunning for the job at Old Trafford, but Man Utd chiefs are right to be wary of his personality.

Erik ten Hag
© IMAGO - Erik ten Hag

Tuchel's recent failures

Recent experiences have shown that Tuchel isn't quite the exciting, up-and-coming coach he was at Mainz and, to a lesser extent, at Borussia Dortmund anymore. In fact, it is probably fair to say that the German has failed to adapt and evolve with the times.

Despite winning the Champions League with Chelsea as recently as 2021, Tuchel's track record over the last few years is anything but impressive. Sacked by Chelsea - though perhaps somewhat unfairly - early on in 2022/23, the 50-year-old required some heroics from Jamal Musiala and a Borussia Dortmund bottling to win the Bundesliga after replacing Julian Nagelsmann at Bayern.

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This season, things have been even worse, with Bayer Leverkusen comfortably storming to their first-ever Bundesliga title under Xabi Alonso, while Bayern have been riven by turmoil despite unheard-of spending, splashing €150 million on Harry Kane and Kim Min-jae in the summer, with the latter now struggling for game time.

At the beginning of the season, Tuchel openly antagonised vice-captain Joshua Kimmich by essentially saying that he does not believe that the German international is good enough to be a defensive midfielder for a club like Bayern and things boiled over after a shocking loss to relegation-battling Bochum in February when Kimmich and Tuchel's assistant Zsolt Low verbally went at each others' throats.

Thomas Tuchel
© IMAGO - Thomas Tuchel

Man Utd need a Jurgen Klopp, not a Thomas Tuchel

The only reason why Tuchel will leave the club by mutual consent rather than having already been sacked is because of Bayern's surprisingly deep run in the Champions League. Recent seasons, however, have shown that worries about Tuchel's character are well-founded in the grand scheme of things.

In the right environment and with the right set of players, things might work out well for him, but even when he first broke onto the scene at Mainz, Tuchel was seen as purely a tactician rather than a particularly socially competent coach.

At seemingly every club he has worked at, Tuchel has been said to be distant, cold and, at times, needlessly cruel or overly critical of his players and this is the crux of the problem. Erik ten Hag's time at Man Utd has shown that what the club and that squad need right now is the exact opposite of this.

Ten Hag was touted as a great disciplinarian, as the ideal man to fix the 'culture' at Man Utd, but the Dutchman has failed miserably at this. While Tuchel may not exactly be the same kind of authoritarian boss, the Red Devils need someone who can form relationships with his players, not someone who will force them to run extra laps around the training pitch or banish them from the first team.

Given what has happened with Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and most recently Alejandro Garnacho, it is clear that Man Utd need a coach with a different approach to Ten Hag and Tuchel. Hiring the latter to replace the former - which, by the way, would cost an awful lot of money - makes little sense. In a way, Tuchel would be just another Ten Hag.

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