Erik ten Hag preferred not to go to the traveling Manchester United fans hiding in a corner of Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium after a humiliating afternoon in west London, but if he did he would be great spared from the anger that spilled onto the pitch after the 4-0 defeat.
Virtually everyone else at the club – the players, the owners, recruitment, CEO Richard Arnold, director of football John Murtough – has taken the brunt of the criticism after a start to the season that has left United bottom of the Premier League after two games. However, Ten Hag has been largely isolated.
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Most fans are aware that the problems at Old Trafford run much deeper than with a manager who has only been at the club a few months. But if the results continue like this, it will be the Dutchman who pays the price. After defeats to Brighton and Brentford, he was already the third favorite behind Ralph Hasenhüttl (Southampton) and Frank Lampard (Everton) to become the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season.
United claim Ten Hag is a long-term appointment but must show signs of progress soon. Club bosses have been impressed with the 52-year-old’s off-field approach but so far his tally is two games and two defeats with Liverpool next Monday.
Ten Hag has made it clear to both Arnold and Murtough that he needs new players before the September 1 transfer deadline if he is to turn things around. but two weeks before the window closes, the clock is ticking.
Ten Hag are looking to sign Frenkie de Jong from FC Barcelona while a contract with Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot fell through over the Frenchman’s wage demands. Ideally, he would like at least one other striker – Christian Pulisic is the latest player to be linked with a move, albeit on loan – another goalkeeper and a right-back, but he accepts the chances that all his wishes are met before that will end of the window are slim.
Ten Hag’s side feel the club have so far not lived up to their side of the bargain when it comes to making changes to a squad that performed so miserably last season. But during talks ahead of his appointment it became clear he needs to get more out of existing players and there are concerns – small at this point but growing after the 4-0 defeat at Brentford – that is not the case Occurrence.
Both Ten Hag and players accept that they too will have to deal with last season’s hangover and learn the demands of a new manager and new style of play, but there’s no mistaking the fact that many at Old Trafford are off to a significantly better start expected. While the opening-day defeat to Brighton was dismissed as a childhood illness, the manner of the collapse at Brentford – a team put together at a fraction of the cost of United and enjoying only their second season in the Premier League – has sparked mild panic.
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There is no indication the board are doubting their decision to pick Ten Hag over Mauricio Pochettino, who has Premier League experience with Southampton and Tottenham. They expect a significant response against Liverpool.
One of Ten Hag’s key decisions ahead of meeting Jurgen Klopp’s team – and there are many – is whether to stay with Lisandro Martinez. At £56.7million, Martinez was United’s most significant summer signing and one with Ten Hag’s fingerprints after the pair worked together at Ajax. But after scoring four goals in 35 minutes at Brentford, Martinez was substituted at half-time and afterwards Thomas Frank suggested both he and his Brighton counterpart Graham Potter targeted the Argentine over a perceived lack of height.
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“We knew we were more likely to either win the ball or the second ball around,” said Frank. “Obviously we looked at what Brighton did well against them and Brighton is also like us, how they want to play.
“Normally, Brighton always rely on the goalkeeper, but they played long every time, so of course we looked at it. We knew we had that weapon, so we did it.”
Sources have told ESPN that Ten Hag doesn’t think Martinez played that badly against Brentford, but Frank’s testimony is damning. It’s too early to tell if a signing is still adapting to a new league, but if Martinez’s troubles continue it will call Ten Hag’s judgment into question, especially after putting himself at the center of this recruiting campaign Sommers has asked. For example, there have already been questions in and out of the dressing room over his decision to pick Christian Eriksen as the wrong No9 against Brighton, why he hasn’t noticed David de Gea struggling to pass out from behind. and why he was so quick to reinstate Harry Maguire as captain after it became such a contentious issue last season.
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Sources have told ESPN that Ten Hag spent much of his interview with Arnold and Murtough detailing the troubles at Old Trafford and the start of the season has only served to show how deep they run.
Nobody, not least Ten Hag, was expecting an easy season, but nobody expected United to be bottom of the table after two games either. It seems absurd that Ten Hag could face such scrutiny after just a few weeks in office despite being thrown into a situation not of his making, but many fans would argue the club have long since descended into farce .
A home game against Liverpool, who are themselves coming off a difficult start to the season with a string of injuries, draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace and Darwin Nunez, who was suspended for his red card on Monday, offers a chance to build a lot. needed momentum in a big game and relieved the new coach. On the other hand, one more bad result and Ten Hag might not be acquitted of blame much longer.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/manchester-united-engman_utd/story/4724136/man-united-issues-predate-ten-hagbut-new-manager-will-be-under-pressure-if-slide-continues Man United issues predate Ten Hag, but new manager will be under pressure if slide continues