• Friday, April 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Pressure mounts on Ten Hag after Man City defeat

Erik ten Hag (1)

Erik ten Hag has been warned that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a part-owner of Manchester United, is aware of his inability to compete with the top teams in the Premier League.

Despite Marcus Rashford’s early lead with a sublime strike, United suffered a 3-1 defeat against Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday. Phil Foden’s brace nullified Rashford’s effort before Erling Haaland sealed City’s victory with a third goal in injury time, ensuring their dominance in Manchester continued.

Defeat means United end the weekend 11 points behind Aston Villa, who currently occupy fourth spot in the Premier League. The result is also unlikely to ease the pressure on Ten Hag, whose long-term future remains unclear.

It remains to be seen if Ratcliffe and Ineos, who now control sporting operations at Old Trafford, will continue with the Dutchman beyond this season. Ten Hag signed a three year back in the summer of 2022 and there have been no talks over an extension.

Ratcliffe has big ambitions and has already publicly expressed his desire to knock United’s neighbours “off their perch”. And beINSPORTS pundit Jason McAteer feels that the poor performance against City, who dominated, will give Ratcliffe food for thought.

Speaking while analysing the statistics of the game, McAteer said: “That’s why you don’t last at the end of the season. I honestly don’t think he’ll be there at the end of the season for next season.

“Jim Ratcliffe will see that [the stats] and it’s just not good enough for a Manchester United team. He did it at Liverpool, now he’s done it at Man City. He gets away with it against the lesser teams but against the better sides he just gets found out.”

United had just 26 per cent possession at the Etihad and mustered three shots on goal, with Rashford’s opener the only shot on target. Despite that, Ten Hag insisted his side played well and that they were unfortunate to not take anything from the game.

“I think [it was a] good performance from our side,” he said post-match. “We went 1-0 up and [played] according to the plan. We had our moments after it as well, to go for a second one.

“I think we defended very well. But then [there were] two I will say defining moments where we almost make a breakthrough and we conceded the first goal and also the second goal after also a defining moment, when Garnacho is through on the break.

“So yeah, then you are disappointed. We have to accept it, but it is what it is. But still, I think we had the opportunity to at least get one point, but also a win was possible.”