Manchester United will probably sack Erik ten Hag - it's a case of when not if after Brentford draw

Manchester United will probably sack Erik ten Hag - it's a case of when not if after Brentford draw

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Manchester United slip to Brentford draw to increase pressure on Erik ten Hag

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 31/03/2024

- 09:25

The Red Devils were poor during the 1-1 draw at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday night

When Mason Mount scored to put Manchester United ahead against Brentford on Saturday night, Erik ten Hag was delighted.

Steve McClaren's face said it all, however. Eyes wide with shock, the former England boss couldn't believe his side had broken the deadlock at the death.

The goal looked as though United would be leaving Brentford, the home of their memorable 4-0 humbling last term, with all three points.

It was undeserved and bitterly cruel for the hosts, who had dominated proceedings. Make no mistake about it, with better finishing, they could have inflicted another battering.

Manchester United Erik ten Hag

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag seems to be a dead man walking at Old Trafford after his side's 1-1 draw with Brentford


Yet Ten Hag and McClaren's joy was to be short-lived, with Kristoffer Ajer netting in the 99th minute to earn a draw.

United had gone into the match on a high after a stirring, pulsating 4-3 victory over Liverpool last time out.

That FA Cup triumph was meant to be a turning point in their season, the moment Ten Hag transformed the fortunes of his side.

But United, not for the first time this season, were far too open. Conceding 31 shots is proof of that, with the Red Devils disjointed from back to front.

It is the story of Ten Hag's second season in charge. United concede shots, get the odd lucky break and then chaos usually beckons.

For a man who prizes himself on order, it's astonishing to see his team looking like they get no coaching whatsoever.

United are yet to make a final decision on Ten Hag's future following the recent arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is now in charge of sporting operations at Old Trafford.

Yet let's face it, only a fool would bet the house on the Dutchman still being in charge in 12 months' time.

United have done more for Ten Hag than many of his predecessors, signing players he's wanted and therefore maximising his chances of succeeding.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn't get such a luxury.

But Ten Hag has squandered millions and United's style of play, or lack of one, has seen them regress drastically this term.

This was Brentford, with all due respect. Not Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool or Tottenham.

Yet United were schooled for the second trip to Brentford in a row and they remain as far away from the top as ever.

To make matters worse, players seem to be downing tools.

Marcus Rashford was dire, with the England international failing to rise to the occasion.

Victor Lindelof toiled against Ivan Toney prior to being forced out of the match, with his injury set to add to Ten Hag's problems.

Scott McTominay was a passenger, while Bruno Fernandes was subdued.

And even brilliant youngster Kobbie Mainoo endured an off-night, with the midfielder failing to build on his impressive England debut in midweek.


Manchester United Mason Mount

Manchester United thought they'd snatched a late win against Brentford when Mason Mount netted his first goal for the club


Jamie Redknapp, speaking on Sky Sports, hit the nail on the head.

"I've watched Manchester United under Erik ten Hag. I don't know what their way of playing is," he raged.

"I don't know whether they play out from the back. They tried to do at times and they pass the ball to the keeper and he lumps it up the pitch. Do they do that for effect?

"I know they haven't necessarily had all the back four that they would like and if you've got [Lisandro] Martinez and [Raphael] Varane, it helps you build.

"But I don't know what the Man United way of playing is. They had so many opportunities today, Brentford, they were just better in every single department.

"And there's lots of talk about the manager. Will he still be here next year?

Manchester United Brentford

Manchester United were rocked with Brentford scoring a late equaliser to pile pressure on Erik ten Hag


"I think the way that the players are playing right now and that kind of performance, they're going to decide because they're the sort of performances that get the manager the sack, because there was a lack of effort.

"And if they really liked this manager, if they want to play for him, they will do that.

"I saw so many players just walking around, strolling around and not looking like they care. And they play for one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"And that for me, it shouldn't really ever happen. There's too many of them."

For Ten Hag, the writing seems to be on the wall. United are going backwards, instead of forwards, and this new era at Old Trafford requires better.

Winning the FA Cup would restore some pride but, as Van Gaal shows, even that could be too little too late.

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