Is Manchester United keeping Ten Hag the right decision?

A detailed analysis into if Erik ten Hag is the right choice for Manchester United going forward
Manchester City v Manchester United - Emirates FA Cup Final
Manchester City v Manchester United - Emirates FA Cup Final / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Last week Manchester United announced that manager Erik ten Hag’s contract will be extended by one more year. The deal that was initially set to expire in June 2025 will now see him stay until 2026. It looks like the club triggered the option to extend rather than offer Ten Hag a new deal. 

Following the announcement many fans expressed their jubilation in seeing the Dutch manager stay at Old Trafford. However, there were others who chose to remain skeptical. Previously Ten Hag himself said that he knows the club has been talking to other managers. He also underlined that he was the best candidate for the job. 

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Many of those who are happy about Ten Hag staying say so because they believe he is better than other managers on the market. Manchester was linked with managers like Thomas Tuchel, Mouricio Pochettino, and Thomas Frank. 

Tuchel is one of the best tacticians in the game. But ending the season without any trophies at Bayern made many fans unconvinced of his suitability. Even though he seemed like the most likely candidate for the United job, he couldn't reach an agreement with the club. 

Just like Tuchel, Pochettino’s underwhelming stint as Chelsea manager put him at a disadvantage. Even though the Argentine managed to guide his Chelsea side to 6th place, above Man United, many fans didn’t trust he was the right manager. 

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Frank has done an amazing job at Brentford. Having guided the side to Premier League promotion in 2021 he now has turned them into a solid mid table club. The Danish manager managed to achieve a lot within a smaller budget. There are many spectators who believe he should be given a shot at a club like United. But this appointment looks risky. 

If the options on the market are considered then keeping Ten Hag might not be the wrong decision. In fact breaking the cycle of continually changing managers and rebuilding is key for success. But there are many things to be sorted at Man United. 

After the minority acquisition by Sir Jim Ratcliff there have been many structural changes at the club. United have already appointed Omar Barreda and now Dan Ashworth to facilitate a smooth working structure. Looking at it from how the sporting hierarchy has been organized there is room for optimism. However, turning that into on pitch success is another issue altogether. 

Ten Hag believes that the new structure will be a boost to the club. “We are so pleased that around the football, around the first-team, we have a strong structure that will help us,” he told MUTV.

“They are really supportive and that will help us in many ways, like in scouting and recruitment, like in the departments of medical and performance. They will be so supportive and that will raise the bar.”

Ten Hag further added: “Now, with the new ownership coming in, they can help us. They are very supportive. We’ve made a process, which we’ve constructed across the summer and we are in a very good position, a very strong position to go and attack.”

Ten Hag needs to make the right decisions along with the hierarchy when it comes to player signings. One of the biggest issues the club has faced in the last few years is not being able to acquire the right players that fit the system. 

Signings like Anthony, Mount and Amrabat have failed to deliver at the required level. Rasmus Hojlund took a while to get started and the club suffered while he was adapting. Ten Hag needs to make sure that the players he wants fit well with the team and the way he wants to play. Lisandro Martinez is a testament to how the right signing can transform a team. 

If Ten Hag manages to sort out the playing style and manages to acquire the right players to implement that system then the club can build something solid. But any sign of stagnation can prove to be the end for him as the current extension doesn’t guarantee full trust by the board.

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