Manchester United sacking Erik ten Hag may have taken a giant step closer

Manchester United Erik ten Hag

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is fighting to save his job after Newcastle Carabao Cup defeat

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 02/11/2023

- 08:12

The Red Devils are a club in crisis following their Carabao Cup defeat to Newcastle on Wednesday night

Manchester United are, simply put, a shambles.

And while the club insist they back Erik ten Hag, the chastening nature of Wednesday's dreadful Carabao Cup defeat to Newcastle could prompt them into a giant rethink.

United went into the game wounded, having been comprehensively outplayed by Manchester City just days previously.

However, they were given an immediate chance to make amends with Ten Hag opting to make seven changes.

Manchester United Newcastle

Manchester United were outplayed by Newcastle during Wednesday's Carabao Cup defeat


Out went the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, who have regressed alarmingly since shining last season.

In came gladiator Casemiro, while Anthony Martial was given the nod up top with Alejandro Garnacho deployed out wide.

Some United fans have long called for Ten Hag to drop Rashford and Fernandes.

Yet even without their two so-called best players, the Red Devils were abysmal as they slumped to defeat.

Newcastle are a club very much on the up, and have been ever since their lucrative Saudi Arabian takeover last year.

But the way they put United to the sword, particularly in the first half, was rather impressive.

Miguel Almiron got the ball rolling in the 28th minute, with Lewis Hall then doubling his side's advantage just eight minutes later.

And Joe Willock then compounded United's misery late on to dump the current Carabao Cup holders out of the competition.

The Red Devils had more of the ball and completed more passes than their opponents.

Yet they were utterly insipid up top, managing just two shots on target.

It's worth noting they actually had more players wear the captain's armband - Casemiro, Victor Lindelof and Fernandes - than shots on the Newcastle goal.

The pattern is somewhat familiar, however.

When United tend to go on a losing run like they have done this season, managers tend to pay the price.

It particularly feels like two years ago, back when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had ruled the roost.

He, too, was expected to challenge for the Premier League title after being lavishly backed by the Glazers.

Solskjaer got Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ten Hag this summer was allowed to blow the budget on Andre Onana, Rasmus Hojlund and Mason Mount - with Sofyan Amrabat, Jonny Evans and Altay Bayindir arriving as well.

But United haven't improved. Once again, they've gone backwards.

Should the spiral continue - and that seems logical - then Ten Hag's head will roll.

Sure, it will be expensive to sack him - with the club facing a bill of around £15million to relieve him of his duties.


Manchester United Erik ten Hag

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag seems to be a dead man walking after Newcastle Carabao Cup defeat


But United can't carry on like this. Ten Hag, like his predecessors before him, now looks to be a dead man walking.

The Glazers are silent as they often are.

However, players are unhappy with Ten Hag's methods and there are concerns that he's a man well and truly out of his depth.

Not that the 53-year-old will say that himself. Speaking after the defeat, he vowed to battle on.

“So I am a fighter and I know it is not always going to go up and we have a lot of setbacks this season," he said. Only time will tell if he's able to last the course.

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