It took only two formal matches for Dutch manager Eric Ten Hag to see firsthand the depth of the crisis his new team, Manchester United, has been going through since the retirement of legendary Scotland manager Alex Ferguson in 2013.
After three wins in the four warm-up matches he played on his Asia-Australia tour, United fans were optimistic that Ten Hag could revolutionize the team that would get him back to where he was and forget the disappointment last season. and the sixth place won by the Red Devils in the league.
But Ten Hag soon faced the bitter reality of a 20-time champion, losing the first two matches of the new Premier League season, the first at home to Brighton 1-2 and the second on Saturday at Brentford Stadium with a clear four, his last record. in the first 36 minutes.
Saturday’s painful loss, which saw Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo make the starting line-up after coming on as a substitute in the opener, was United’s seventh consecutive away league game in the sequel of last season. a scenario that has not happened to him since… 1936.
open heart surgery
After that disastrous start to the season, any hope for a bright new future was quickly dashed under the former Ajax Amsterdam coach, who quickly realized what his German predecessor Ralf Rangnick had in mind after his last game as interim coach. of the team. , when he said United needed “open heart surgery” and signing up to ten new players to try and improve on the sixth position they were in.
As the league reached its third stage, United still failed to bring in more than three new players: Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, Argentina’s Lisandro Martinis and Dutchman Terrell Malasia, who failed to make the desired revolution.
The scale of United’s crisis is compounded by the fact that on paper the current squad appear weaker than last season’s, especially with the departure of France midfielder Paul Pogba, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, midfielders Jesse Lingard, Serbian Nemanja Matic and Spaniard Juan Mata. all for free due to the expiration of their contracts with the club.
The club shop was forced to close following an attack by supporters demanding the Glaser family leave before the start of the opening game, which the team lost at home to Brighton.
There are expected to be further moves on the sidelines of United’s next home game against Liverpool, repeating the scene from last season when the decision was made to postpone the match between the two sides to May. 2021 when fans stormed Old Trafford stadium in protest against Europe. Super League plans.
“It’s time for the Glazers to sell the club,” said former United captain Gary Neville, adding: “People in management positions (at the club) should have known that handing over to Erik ten Hag was unacceptable.” crew.”
After Saturday’s humiliating defeat, the Dutchman said he asked his players to ‘play with faith and take responsibility for their game, and we didn’t do that’.
“It looks like what happened last season, last season, is repeating itself this season, and we need to change that quickly.”
Ten Hag became the sixth manager to hold the post since then, to no avail unless management were convinced of a more fundamental restructuring of the club’s management.
Otherwise, United risk repeating the same mistakes, which could lead to new lows.