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Erik ten Hag Should Stay As Manchester United Manager

There is growing angst around Manchester United and their fans. It’s the type of angst we saw before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure, and Jose Mourinho before him. It’s a familiar sight, and for the last so many years, it’s been a familiar ending for the managers in question. Is it not time we moved past that? Under the new ownership and guidance of INEOS, should we not give Erik ten Hag one more season to prove himself under a proper structure? Hopefully, without the second-most injuries in the entire division?

Erik ten Hag’s Injury Situation:

Injuries are not the only reason Manchester United have failed to win so many games this season. Regardless of injuries, the Reds should be controlling games against the likes of Newport County (even though that was the only time their recognised back four started a game this season), but it does cause issues when trying to build relationships.

As per a stat on the Talk of the Devils podcast this week, United’s most-used defensive four this season have been Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Jonny Evans, and Diogo Dalot. They have played together four times. To put that into context, when Liverpool had that season of injuries with Virgil Van Dijk missing the majority of the campaign, they named a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Virgil Van Dijk, and Liverpool’s first choice back then, Joe Gomez, four times. They have similar injury issues. Liverpool were a shadow of themselves without Van Dijk’s presence at the back, as he featured eight times in that campaign. Lisandro Martinez has only featured ten times for United this season.

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In fact, as previously mentioned, United’s preferred starting eleven has been named on one occasion this season, against Newport County. Sofyan Amrabat, a defensive midfielder on loan, has been forced to play right-back and left-back this season. United have had 27 different injuries this season, missing players for 979 days in total, the second most in the division behind Newcastle United. Would United be worse off with all them players fit? It’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t be a lot closer to Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur if they had a bit of even playing field when it comes to injuries.

Tactical Issues:

There are tactical issues in Erik ten Hag’s setup that cannot be ignored at present, and they do have to be called out. They are worrying signs, and United fans are not wrong for questioning what’s happening. Should we not give him another couple of months to prove us wrong? Is he not entitled to another transfer window under the proper guidance of a sporting structure for the first time in 20 years at the club to try and show us what exactly his end goal is with this team?

At the moment the high press low-block situation is causing United to be pulled apart in midfield. That’s a structural issue. There’s no doubt about it. How would that look if he had the right profiles in the side? Should we forget getting to two cup finals in the space of taking over the worst Manchester United team in Premier League history per the points tally?

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There is no evidence that United will turn into Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in the coming seasons, but there is evidence that trusting a manager through a period when nobody quite knows what their desires are with the team can work out in a positive way. Two back to back eight place finishes left #ArtetaOut trending on Twitter on an almost weekly basis, i’d imagine them fans feel pretty silly right now considering the sheer class of the current team before their eyes.

United’s mistake over the last few seasons was pulling the plug on a project the first time the volcano burst abruptly, which in turn contributed to us laying dormant for more years than we needed to. If we had of allowed the volcano to flow naturally, perhaps we would have set off a fire that sparked us back to the pinnacle of English football. Erik ten Hag deserves time.

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