United fans can point their fingers at the players and whinge until they are blue in the face about their ownership problems, but really and truly, the buck stops with manager Erik ten Hag.
|Erik ten Hag has a mountain to climb if he wants to save his job. — AFP/VNA Photo|
The distance between Manchester United’s Old Trafford football ground and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium is a little shy of seven kilometres.
On the pitch, that gap is much wider. They are quite simply light years apart. This was proved beyond any reasonable doubt last Sunday when City beat them at a canter.
Nordic man-mountain Erling Haaland, who scored two of City’s three goals, hardly broke sweat. At the end of the game he left the pitch he looking like he’d just taken his dog for a walk around his local park, never mind playing 90 minutes of Premier League football.
Then just three days later, United were beaten at home again, by the same score line, to a second-string Newcastle United team in the Carabao Cup.
Man United fans can point their fingers at the players and whinge until they are blue in the face about their ownership problems, but really and truly, the buck stops with manager Erik ten Hag.
Sorry Erik, but this job is far, far too big for you.
Ten Hag did well in his last position, with Ajax in the Dutch league, but managing Manchester United is a completely different beast.
You wouldn’t employ a car-washer as CEO of Ferrari just because he does ok with a bucket and sponge.
As a Liverpool fan, I’m obviously revelling in their demise, but I kind of feel ever so slightly sorry for ten Hag.
He’s clearly out of his depth. His team lacks discipline, and he’s struggling to identify, and get the best out of, the few decent players he has.
I thought when he arrived, United had hired a tough-taskmaster, a manager who doesn’t suffer fools, and rules with a rod of steel.
That’s clearly not the case.
I think December will be a crunch month. In the first few weeks, United will play Newcastle away, Chelsea, Galatasaray and Bayern Munich in the Champions League, then Liverpool at Anfield.
Lose those games, get another hammering by Liverpool, who won the same fixture last season by seven goals to nil, and ten Hag will be packing his bags.
I got the bus to work yesterday, and a kid got on, I guess around 10, or 11 years old, wearing a Manchester United shirt.
They are, after all, a massive global brand and I’d go as far as to suggest probably the biggest supported Premier League club in Việt Nam.
I don’t think in his entire lifetime that the kid I saw on the bus will ever see United dominate the game, as they did for many years in the past.
Do the right thing Erik and walk away. Your time is up.