Erik ten Hag has come under a series of strong criticisms after Manchester United’s poor start to the 2023/24 season. Back-to-back 1-0 wins over Fulham and Luton Town before the international break in November calmed the situation, following an embarrassing 3-0 defeat in the Manchester derby.
However, the Dutch coach is still facing countless difficulties even though the result surprised everyone: the Red Devils were only 5 points behind the 4th ranked team, Tottenham Hotspur, in the context of the team going through Worst start in the Premier League era.
A humiliating 0-3 defeat at home to Newcastle United in the League Cup has added to Ten Hag’s pain, while Man United’s bid to qualify for the Champions League group stage is being dealt a blow. They just won 3 points after 4 matches.
All of that paints a bleak picture for the former Ajax coach. It feels like Man Utd fans are gradually running out of patience after Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Indeed, witnessing his beloved football team continuously fail, Red Devils fans have reason to be dissatisfied.
However, criticizing Ten Hag is wrong. In fact, the 53-year-old man is gradually changing the face of Man Utd. Instead of criticizing, it’s better to know that Ten Hag has accumulated more points than Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta in their first 50 Premier League games in charge.
While Liverpool fans worship Klopp and Arsenal fans see Arteta as the savior to end their long-standing suffering, everyone blames the Dutch strategist, in the context of Man Utd’s difficulties.
Achieving superiority over two such characters is not simple. When replacing Ralf Rangnick in 2022, the Red Devils completely lost direction, far behind the top 4, let alone the title race.
In the first season at the “Theater of Dreams”, Ten Hag brought the team back to the Champions League arena and ended a six-year title drought with the League Cup trophy.
The truth is that Man Utd has not been able to win the Premier League this season, but Ten Hag has faced many problems like the cases of Antony and Jadon Sancho. At the same time, Marcus Rashford’s decline was so bad that Man Utd’s attackers were “like chickens with hair stuck in their hair”.
Man Utd is also going through one of the worst injury crises in history. Not to mention the Glazer family often interferes in Ten Hag’s affairs and the lengthy ownership change process makes this coach even more tired.
That’s why Ten Hag is facing so much pressure at Old Trafford. The important thing is that Man Utd does not deviate and still moves forward step by step.
Tieu Lam | 23:39 November 15, 2023