Erik Ten Hag’s Reputation On The Line As Manchester United Struggle

Manchester United have suffered a challenging start to the season. Barely a day has passed without the Old Trafford club facing questions over a negative news story. From Mason Greenwood’s situation and loan to Getafe to the allegations made against Antony to Jadon Sancho’s statement against Erik ten Hag, United have not had their problems to seek.

On top of this, the team on the pitch has struggled for momentum over the early part of the campaign. Manchester United have lost two of their opening four Premier
League fixtures with a challenging match against Brighton another test for ten Hag and his players. They can’t afford another defeat at this stage of the season.

Even after enjoyed success last season, it already feels like there is a lot on the line for ten Hag as Manchester United manager. The Dutchman is fighting to stop his team from rolling down the hill again after pushing it into the top four last term. It won’t take much more for the perception of ten Hag as United boss to change.

So far this season, Manchester United’s midfield has looked vulnerable with the team also lacking a natural focal point in attack. Rasmus Hojlund made his Premier League off the bench in the defeat to Arsenal before the international debut and ten Hag needs the Danish youngster to hit the ground running. He has been signed to be United’s new centre forward.

Sofyan Amrabat was signed to bolster Manchester United’s midfield, but the Moroccan is sidelined through injury for Saturday’s match against Brighton. Mason Mount is also unavailable and so United might have to tolerate large periods of the game against the Seagulls without the ball. They might have to be reactive.

Antony and Sancho will be missing from the squad and there’s no timeframe for either to return. The latter isn’t training with the first team after refusing to apologise for a statement which claimed ten Hag failed to tell the truth regarding which the attacker wasn’t in the squad for the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal.

“Strict lines is the point, is what the club asked me because there was no good culture before last season so to set some good standards, that is what I did,” ten Hag said when asked why this stance had been taken with Sancho who won’t feature against Brighton. “That is my job, to control the standards.”

Ten Hag might be right to enforce high standards within the dressing room, but the narrative will change if Manchester United’s underwhelming start to the season continues on the pitch. Many expected the Old Trafford team to take another step forward following the summer. Instead, they can’t help themselves regress.

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