Ten Hag to remain Man Utd manager after review

Man Utd celebrate winning the 2024 FA CupGetty Images
Updated 1 hour ago

Erik Ten Hag will remain as manager of Manchester United following a post-season review by the club’s board.

It is understood they are now talking to Ten Hag about extending his contract, which is about to enter its final season.

United instigated their review immediately after the FA Cup final.

Ten Hag went into the game against Manchester City at Wembley amid a backdrop of reports claiming he was going to be sacked no matter the outcome.

Instead, United’s deserved 2-1 victory allowed the club hierarchy to approach the review in a more positive light.

It is understood what are being described as “constructive conversations” with Ten Hag have taken place around the outcome of the review.

All eventualities were considered and the clear preference was for the 54-year-old Dutchman to remain in charge.

Ten Hag is known to be delighted at the outcome on Tuesday, although there have been suggestions he was getting irritated at the time taken for United to reach their conclusion.

United do not believe two weeks is an unreasonable length of time to conduct a thorough assessment of what is the first season under a change of ownership.

Thomas Tuchel is thought to have spoken to new United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe last week but ruled himself out of the running, while the club’s interest in Mauricio Pochettino also cooled even though he was available after his exit from Chelsea.

Graham Potter, Thomas Frank, Roberto de Zerbi and current England boss Gareth Southgate were also linked with the job, although Brentford were never contacted about Frank and appointing Southgate this summer was impossible due to his commitments with England.

Ten Hag has been on holiday with his family in Ibiza.

United finished eighth last season, their lowest position in the Premier League era, although they suffered the most injuries with 45 separate cases recorded, a fact Ten Hag often cited for some below-par displays.

The Dutchman took charge at Old Trafford in summer 2022 and is United’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, following David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He arrived at Old Trafford following a successful four-and-a-half year spell at Ajax that saw him win three Eredivisie titles and two Dutch Cups.

In his debut season he led the club to third place in the Premier League, along with the EFL Cup and FA Cup finals.

He won his first trophy as United boss in February 2023 when the Red Devils beat Newcastle to lift the EFL Cup, but were beaten by Manchester City in the FA Cup final three months later.

The 2023-24 season proved more difficult, including an early exit from the Champions League after finishing bottom of their group.

United started poorly with six defeats in their opening 10 games, including to Galatasaray and Bayern Munich in the Champions League. They also finished weakly – despite the FA Cup final triumph, they only won five of their final 12 matches in all competitions.

Ratcliffe sticks with Ten Hag

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos group bought a 27.7% stake in the club in December and new director Sir David Brailsford has since been conducting a review of football operations at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe, 71, had hinted at retaining Ten Hag in January after saying the “environment” at the club was not set-up for managers to succeed.

“In the last 11 years, Manchester United have had a lot of coaches and nobody has been very successful in that environment. That says to me there is something wrong with the environment,” said Ratcliffe.

Confirmation that Ten Hag is staying means United can now finally look to build after a difficult campaign and explore the transfer market.

Ten Hag was backed last summer with the signings of Andre Onana, Mason Mount and Rasmus Hojlund.

During his period in charge, Ten Hag has also had to deal with numerous off-field issues.

Mason Greenwood joined Getafe on loan after an internal investigation decided his future was best served away from Old Trafford, while winger Antony was given leave after allegations in Brazil against him from a former girlfriend, which he denies.

Less than a month into the season, Jadon Sancho was dropped from the squad after refusing to apologise to Ten Hag for claiming he had been made a “scapegoat” by the Dutchman.

At the end of a turbulent campaign, United bosses took their time in deciding whether to persist with Ten Hag as manager.

Analysis

In their first few weeks of co-ownership, Ineos came to the conclusion a proper assessment of Ten Hag’s work was impossible because the club did not have the right structures in place that would allow any manager to succeed.

At that point, it seemed certain Ten Hag would remain. But United’s calamitous form in April, which almost included throwing away a three-goal lead in the FA Cup semi-final against Championship side Coventry, almost made it impossible for the Dutchman to continue.

Had what would have been a last-gasp winner for Coventry not been ruled out by a marginal video assistant referee decision, it is hard to imagine Ten Hag would still be in a job right now.

As it was, United went through on penalties, then beat City with by far their best performance of the season, securing European qualification on the way.

Ten Hag has become one of only four United managers to win trophies in successive seasons, a point not lost on the club’s hierarchy.

The club have admiration for the dedication, dignity and professionalism with which Ten Hag has conducted himself through a trying season.

They also recognise the pivotal role he has played in the development of youngsters Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo, who will be on international duty at the Copa America and Euro 2024 for Argentina and England respectively this summer.

Evidently, he has also had to contend with a massive injury list and ease new signings Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund into the fold.

It is felt Ten Hag should prosper in a different sporting structure, that will eventually see Dan Ashworth installed as sporting director, Jason Wilcox as football director and Omar Berrada as chief executive.

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