Erik ten Hag has made two poor decisions that have put Man Utd’s fate in jeopardy

Apr 19, 2024 | Sports

Manchester United has encountered a slew of challenges that have marred Erik ten Hag’s difficult second season at the helm, with few issues as glaring as those in midfield. Ten Hag has faced criticism for his tactical approach, which has left his midfield and defense vulnerable to opposition attacks. However, the root of the problem might be self-inflicted for a different reason.

There are growing concerns about whether the Dutchman can rectify the situation as the 2023/24 campaign unfolds. Ten Hag arrived at Old Trafford with a mission to revamp United’s midfield into a dominant force capable of controlling matches, much like his successful Ajax teams.

He secured Christian Eriksen on a free transfer and identified Frenkie de Jong as his top target. Although United reached an £85 million agreement with Barcelona, the player declined the move. Casemiro was later brought in from Real Madrid for £70 million—an exciting addition, albeit with questions about his compatibility with De Jong and Ten Hag’s Ajax-style play.

While the Brazil captain impressed in his debut season, helping United clinch the Carabao Cup and secure Champions League qualification, his form has dipped significantly this term. This decline has contributed to United’s stark regression, placing Ten Hag on the verge of becoming the fifth manager to struggle in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

On a brighter note, Kobbie Mainoo’s remarkable emergence has been a silver lining. The 18-year-old appears poised to become a cornerstone for both United and England in the coming years. However, Mainoo has often been left to shoulder the midfield duties alone, highlighting United’s dire need for energy in that area—a deficiency exacerbated by the current personnel.

Despite spending £55 million to acquire Mason Mount from Chelsea last summer, his impact was hindered by injury setbacks. In a last-minute move on transfer deadline day, United secured an emergency loan deal for Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, indicating the club’s urgency to address its midfield issues.

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