Manchester United are weak and Erik ten Hag won't last despite Coventry win - Analysis by Jack Otway

Manchester United are weak and Erik ten Hag won't last despite Coventry win - Analysis by Jack Otway

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Manchester United beat Coventry in FA Cup thriller

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 21/04/2024

- 19:35

The Red Devils scraped through to the final of the FA Cup on Sunday

When Bruno Fernandes scored to put Manchester United 3-0 up against Coventry, the writing seemed to be on the wall for Mark Robins' men.

After all, with the Red Devils boasting one of the most-expensive squads in football history, surely a Championship side weren't going to do the unthinkable.

But the beauty of the FA Cup is that this is where magic takes place. It's a cliche but the impossible really does become possible whenever it comes to this famous, prestigious prize.

And Coventry proved that on Sunday, coming from 3-0 down to mount a stirring comeback and come agonisingly close to knocking United out of the FA Cup.

Manchester United Erik ten hag Coventry

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag was let off the hook as his side beat Coventry to reach the final of the FA Cup


Tonight, Erik ten Hag will no doubt be wrestling with his thoughts.

On one hand, despite the turbulence of this campaign, there is silverware at the end of the tunnel.

United will need to be better than this but they have a chance to end the campaign with a trophy to their name for the second season in a row.

No manager has won silverware in back-to-back seasons at United since Sir Alex Ferguson, meaning Ten Hag would be among elite company.

Yet the Dutchman will also be troubled by the way his team collapsed against a team who, with all due respect, play in the Championship.

United made progress under Ten Hag last term but have regressed under the Dutchman this season.

And while some fans like the 54-year-old for the way he conducts himself - and the way he keeps his players in line - there's no denying this Red Devils team is alarmingly weak.

When Simms pulled one back for Coventry, United just seemed to go to pieces.

Casemiro, while playing at centre-back, suddenly lost all of the composure he's possessed over the past 15 years or so.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka looks like a deer in the headlights, with the former Crystal Palace star exploited time and time again at right-back.

Substitute Christian Eriksen found the match far too quick for him, with the Denmark international unable to stamp any authority on the clash.

And Antony, who also came off the bench, looked arguably the worst player on the pitch after coming on for Alejandro Garnacho.

United have folded many times this term. Make no mistake about it, this isn't a one-off.

It is alarming to see the way Coventry cut them open and made them pay for it. Based on this evidence, City will rack up a cricket score when they meet in the final on May 25.

United's latest implosion came with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Sir Dave Brailsford and Joel and Avram Glazer all watching on.


Manchester United Coventry

Manchester United imploded against Coventry and were lucky not to pay the ultimate price


Ten Hag, therefore, should be fearing the worst.

It is simply impossible to see the Dutchman lasting. His team are too open, too vulnerable and too weak to compete at the very highest level - with results like this only papering over the cracks.

Yes, there is a lack of alternatives out there. Thomas Tuchel, Roberto De Zerbi and Graham Potter all come with their various pros and cons.

But United can't keep limping on like this. If it was City wearing sky blue, instead of Coventry, their mistakes would have come back to beat them.

For now, Ten Hag and his side can savour reaching the third final of his reign.

Manchester United Coventry

Manchester United are far too weak under Erik ten Hag and it's hard to see the Dutchman lasting at Old Trafford


It does seem increasingly likely his reign won't be allowed to continue, however.

And if City do win at Wembley next month to likely complete a double, then Ten Hag's head will sink under the water.

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