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Do INEOS & Manchester United need to clarify Erik ten Hag’s position?

The arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS at Manchester United must have felt like a breath of fresh air to many United fans. The comparison between The Glazer’s tenure of full control and INEOS & Sir Jim Ratcliffe since they’ve arrived has been night and day.

The Glazer’s were very rarely present at games during their 15 years at the club. Rarely even in the right continent, only flying in for big games by private jet. Which was, of course, charged to the club. Comparatively, INEOS’ hierarchy has been ever-present at Old Trafford & Carrington. Sir Jim Ratcliffe has spoken frequently to the media & publicly since he’s gotten his foot in the door. The takeover, Old Trafford’s renovation/rebuild, Dan Ashworth & Newcastle, recruitment strategy, and more have all been discussed frankly by Ratcliffe.

Erik ten Hag INEOS
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 06: Erik ten Hag, Manager of Manchester United reacts during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on May 06, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

INEOS remain coy on Ten Hag Future:

But seemingly there is one topic they want to remain tight-lipped on, and that’s the future of manager, Erik ten Hag. Does INEOS believe that this is their man to lead the club back to the top? Or, like every other major position in the club, would they prefer to have their own chosen appointment heading up the first team?

Ordinarily, most of the goings on at Manchester United are quickly leaked out to the press, but this seems to be one that no one can give a definitive answer to. Maybe INEOS being that one step removed from the club makes it difficult to get trustworthy information from traditional sources. The point is that no one seems to be saying definitively what is going on with regards to this topic, and that creates a petri dish perfect for speculation.

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Every time there’s a bad result or performance, it begins a weeklong cycle of media hysteria, criticism, and toxic in-fighting from the fans online. This cannot be conducive to a healthy or constructive atmosphere in the dressing room. In addition, at the time of writing, since full-time at Selhurst Park, the club’s official ‘X’ account, which is usually very active, has only posted once in 36 hours to wish Norman Whiteside a happy birthday. This paints a picture of a gloomy atmosphere around the club beyond just the first-team dressing room.

Clarifying the manager’s position, whatever that decision may be, would go a long way to helping take the wind out of the sails of the mass reaction following a poor result.

Ratcliffe’s Thoughts:

Oliver Kay at The Athletic quoted Sir Jim Ratcliffe as saying: “It’s not switching a light switch. It’s not just about a new coach. It’s not a simple fix or a short-term fix. We have to walk to the right solution, not run to the wrong one.” And this sounds like a very sensible approach to the manager’s position. But given how long they’ve had their foot in the door, they must know what they want to do moving forward. What more are INEOS & Ratcliffe going to learn about Ten Hag and the current state of the team when they face Arsenal at the weekend?

Keeping this to themselves seems completely counterproductive to a team trying to move forward and build, and it’s certainly doing more harm than good.

Personally, I can see a benefit to them coming forward with their decision. If the decision is that he should stay, then it might help create some unity around the fanbase in almost a “the decision has been made whether we like it or not, so let’s get behind the team”, kind of way. If the decision is to part ways, then I think it will help alleviate some of the pressure on the team and ten Hag till the end of the season and enable them to focus on the upcoming FA Cup final.

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Either way, it feels like the situation is reaching boiling point, one way or another, the Manchester United leadership is going to have to do something before it becomes an untenable situation for all.

Manchester United have been approached for comment.

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