Erik Ten Hag with FA Cup
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Why Erik Ten Hag Has Been Given The Chance To Remain As Manchester United Manager

Now that Erik ten Hag has signed a contract extension, adding to the one year remaining on his current contract, many Manchester United fans who had been anxiously waiting for news can now breathe a sigh of relief.

It was announced that Erik ten Hag would be staying in his role. Here are some reasons why INEOS has decided to keep Erik ten Hag.

Fan Backing

Before the FA Cup Final, news broke that Erik ten Hag was set to be relieved of his duties as head coach. Many fans have been demanding that he stay in his role, arguing that they wanted to see change from the old ‘Glazer Way’ of constantly changing managers and never letting them finish their projects. Several important fan groups in the Manchester United community were vocal about the Ten Hag situation. For example, ‘The Red Army’, one of the biggest fan groups both inside and outside of Old Trafford, was especially motivated to ensure club higher-ups understood that fans were behind this manager.

They stated, “Sir Jim, if you care about the match-going fans (and proper United everywhere), you’ll stand by our manager. We want him to stay and do the right thing.”

Many journalists have noted that fan support was a key factor in this outcome. The INEOS group recognised that firing Erik ten Hag wouldn’t have been well-received by the fan base, and this was taken into account in their decision-making process.

Youth Development

The progress of young players and their development towards the first team has been excellent since Erik ten Hag took over in the summer of 2022. Players like Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo have emerged from the academy and established themselves in the first team for both the club and their national teams under Ten Hag’s leadership. Additionally, due to injuries, we have also seen the emergence of Willy Kambwala (19) and Ethan Wheatly (18). Highly rated Harry Amass (17) has been considered for a place on the bench in the last season and is expected to become a top talent.

This matches the view of co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who wants Manchester United to keep trusting young players. Along with this, the club wants to find future stars and build a competitive team that will challenge at the top of the Premier League and in European competitions. Much aligned with how Manchester United used to be.

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Fans worldwide have closely monitored Kobbie Mainoo’s progress. The teenage sensation made his debut for Manchester United in a pre-season match against Arsenal on July 22, 2023, in New Jersey, USA. Mainoo impressed despite strong opposition from Arsenal’s midfield.

Unfortunately, he sustained an injury in the subsequent friendly against Real Madrid, which kept him sidelined until his return to the bench on October 29, 2023, for the match against Manchester City due to an injury crisis.

Mainoo’s first senior start came in a 3-0 victory against Everton at Goodison Park, where he immediately won over United fans with his composed ball control and retention of possession. Following that, he featured in several games for United, including the FA Cup final against Manchester City, where he scored the winning goal. Throughout the season, Mainoo earned his first senior England call-up and has since been selected to represent England in EURO 2024.

PlayerAgeMins
Alejandro Garnacho193,570
Rasmus Hojlund213,085
Kobbie Mainoo192,404
Amad Diallo21496
Willy Kambwala19341
Hannibal Mejbri21328
Omari Forson1988
Daniel Gore1930
Ethan Wheatley1813
Manchester United U21 Minutes

Working Under The Correct Structure

Manchester United’s leadership has decided that Erik ten Hag should be allowed to work within a new organisational structure, with Omar Berrada as the incoming chief executive, Dan Ashworth as the sporting director, and Jason Wilcox as the technical director. According to Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the poor working conditions that the late Richard Arnold and John Murtough created held ten Hag back.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe deemed this situation inadequate and has opted for a revamp of the football department to maximise the team’s potential for success on the football pitch. It was mentioned recently that there are indeed other issues at hand than the position of the manager, adding that it is all about the “environment” of the club. “The coach isn’t the central issue at Manchester United,” added Ratcliffe.

Domestic Success

During his time as the manager of Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag led the team to two titles. First, they won the Carabao Cup on February 26, 2023, with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United, with goals scored by Casemiro and Marcus Rashford. Additionally, they secured 3rd place in the league, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Despite making it to the FA Cup final, Manchester City defeated them. Despite the season ending in a loss, fans were pleased with the team’s performance and believed that Erik Ten Hag was the right choice for the job.

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Manchester United v Manchester City FA Cup Final

More recently, only a few weeks ago, Erik ten Hag’s rejuvenated side enjoyed another cup victory. This time, it was in the FA Cup final, getting revenge for the previous year’s final against Manchester City with a 2-1 victory. First-half goals came from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo. Many fans felt that Manchester United made a good account of themselves on the day.

Erik ten Hag’s team, which had the better chances of the two teams, dominated the game in large part. This match was seen as having a major impact on the decision-makers at INEOS, as they could see that the players wanted to fight for Erik ten Hag. Having pivotal players back, like the defensive duo of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, helped give Manchester United a good chance of winning. it also didn’t go unnoticed that Erik ten hag was made the first manager since Sir Alex Ferguson to win trophies in back-to-back seasons.

Erik ten Hag’s win percentage is 60%, making him the manager with the highest win ratio in Manchester United’s history. Currently, his win ratio ranks higher than Sir Alex Ferguson’s 59.7%.

Injury List

It’s no secret that Manchester United has been dealing with an extensive injury crisis, affecting key players such as Lisandro Martinez and new signing Mason Mount. Martinez has only made 11 Premier League appearances, mainly as a substitute or before getting injured. On the other hand, Mount has struggled with injuries, making only 14 appearances and scoring just one goal in 513 minutes of action. In total, the team has struggled with 45 separate injury cases throughout the season, impacting the availability of players like Antony and Jadon Sancho.

This situation has forced other players, such as Johnny Evans and Willy Kambwala, to take on more responsibility. Additionally, the team notably lacked a left-back for much of the season, with both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia dealing with injuries, resulting in Diogo Dalot playing in an unfavourable position. Overall, Manchester United had an incidence rate of 9.9 injuries per 1,000 minutes played, with significant time lost due to these injuries. This high injury rate forced manager Erik ten Hag to frequently adjust his lineup, often being unable to play his best starting XI.

Unfortunately, injuries plagued Manchester United throughout the season. One particular game stands out in the minds of the majority of United supporters: the 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on May 8, 2024. Leading up to the game, United fans knew that key defenders such as Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, and Willy Kambwala would be missing. Midfielder Scott McTominay was also sidelined for the match. Late injury tests were conducted with Bruno Fernandes and Johnny Evans. Unfortunately, Bruno Fernandes was declared unfit for the game, while Johnny Evans was determined to be only 50% fit.

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The veteran showed his loyalty to United and fortunately played for the Red Devils, partnering with Casemiro at the back. With Diogo Dalot playing left back and Aaron Wan-Bissaka playing right back, the back line was far from balanced. Mason Mount and Christian Eriksen were called upon to play despite lacking match sharpness, while Alejandro Garnacho, Antony, and Rasmus Hojlund made up the attack.

The game was disastrous for United defensively, with costly errors from Casemiro in particular resulting in a heavy defeat. It highlighted the severity of the injury crisis, making it appear as if a bunch of Sunday League players were playing for fun. Jamie Carragher declared that Casemiro “should call it a day at the top level” and that Manchester United is one of the most “poorly coached sides in the Premier League.” It was no secret that Casemiro had a disastrous day and was at fault for two of Palace’s goals.

Highlights- Crystal Palace v Manchester United 4-0

End-of-Season Review

After winning the FA Cup, INEOS and Manchester United conducted a 2-week process that looked at the manager’s situation at Manchester United. The main objective was to review the season by looking at statistics and reasons why things may have gone so well in the seasons. Everything was taken into account, including player and staff discussions to see where they lied with Erik ten Hag. It was only natural that the club participated in succession planning by holding discussions with multiple managers during the process.

Notably, higher-ups at INEOS had face-to-face discussions with Thomas Tuchel, Thomas Frank and Marco Silva. Ultimately, INEOS decided that no other manager was better than what they had with Erik Ten Hag. INEOS also looked at projections and how the future may look with Erik Ten Hag. With Ten Hag involved in these discussions, it came to a clear conclusion that he should stay as manager. Erik Ten Hag is now in discussion with Manchester United over a 2-year contract extension that would keep him at the club until 2027.

Recently, Manchester United’s manager was a pundit on Dutch TV (NPO). Ten Hag stated that, regarding the recent managerial controversy, “Manchester United have told me that they spoke with Thomas Tuchel, but they eventually came to the conclusion that they already have the best manager.”

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