Manchester United

Man Utd are getting worse under Erik ten Hag with their underdog football no use long-term

Man Utd are getting worse under Erik ten Hag with their underdog football no use long-term

Man Utd have just finished eighth in the Premier League (Image: Getty Images)

Although Erik ten Hag oversaw Manchester United’s worst-ever Premier League season, the Dutchman’s strategies are not likely to allow his team to catch up to the top teams.

Erik ten Hag was appointed manager of Manchester United prior to the team finishing sixth in the Premier League. They have finished eighth this season with a limp.

Even though Ten Hag’s FA Cup victory last week was very sweet, a team’s true caliber is determined by its performance over 38 games, and United is losing more and more of them. When Ralf Rangnick gave the Dutchman the keys to Old Trafford, I recall him saying the team needed open-heart surgery.

The unexpected victory over Manchester City at Wembley may have sent fans’ hearts racing, and for good reason—they stopped their rivals across town from making history by winning the Double for the second time in a row. To be honest, though, the victory was really worth a few local bragging rights in the big picture.

It has merely covered up gaps that occasionally seemed to be getting bigger than the ones that let rainwater seep through United’s stadium’s leaky roof.

United performed as though they were the underdogs. They were fierce and full of bite. And Kobbie Mainoo’s fantastic second goal—which ended up being the winning goal—was the result of their one creative moment.

However, if they continue to play that way every week, they will never be able to catch up to City, Arsenal, and Liverpool at the top of English football. Ten Hag’s team was idealized by their status as rank outsiders.

Even though it was evident that the supporters enjoyed watching Bruno Fernandes hoist the storied old trophy at City’s expense, they wouldn’t be as thrilled if they were given that caliber of football every week. In actuality, Ten Hag’s future is still in jeopardy because United has produced so much mediocre stuff in the Premier League.

The Dutchman might now make it through; last week was more of his Fergie 1990 moment than his Van Gaal 2016 finale. However, Manchester United is known for playing attacking football, and their performance at Wembley was very similar to their campaign in many ways.

What other teams spent the previous season doing to City, United did to them. But to win the Premier League, you require far more than that. Now, Sir Jim Ratcliffe must choose between placing his trust in the previous nine months or those ninety minutes.

The first season under Ten Hag’s leadership was fairly positive. Reaching the FA Cup Final, winning the Carabao Cup, and finishing third all suggested that the heyday was almost over. However, what happened next was one of the worst cases of second season syndrome I can remember for United.

Are United’s current standings superior to those from before the Dutchman was appointed? I disagree, especially in light of the fact that they have spent more than £400 million on transfers in the previous two years.

Ten Hag might be saved by the possibility that Ratcliffe and his INEOS Group haven’t been able to find a better candidate.

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