It&aposs such a predictable development that you could set your watch by it. After a year of steady progress, Erik ten Hag has hit a really difficult patch in his reign as United boss and the distancing has already begun. You can almost picture Ten Hag as a poor little Puritan in a 1600s New England township, shunned by his fellow settlers who no longer wish to be associated with him. Soon to be banished.
It&aposs a script everyone is frustratingly familiar with at this point, United&aposs vastly underperforming stars move to shift the blame off themselves and onto the manager. It was Jose Mourinho&aposs strict criticism they didn&apost like, then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer&aposs slack training sessions and then Ralf Rangnick&aposs tactical approach and his &aposTed Lasso&apos assistant (a show United&aposs belligerents clearly didn&apost watch given Lasso actually managed to break through to a squad of bitter, downtrodden, think-they&aposre-better-than-this players who initially laughed off his methods).
Now Ten Hag has fallen victim to the anonymous voices of disgruntlement. MEN Sport understands there is increasing unrest among a number of those in the squad. Dressing room sources have told the Manchester Evening News doubts are growing over the Dutchman&aposs management.
Like a banshee&aposs cry, it may well signal the death of Ten Hag&aposs time in charge at Old Trafford. Whether it&aposs in the coming weeks or if he lasts the season, it seems the die has now been cast for yet another United manager and his eventual demise will no longer come as a surprise.
But what on earth will it achieve? Other than restarting the cycle once again and putting United years further behind those they wish to catch, absolutely nothing.
Ten Hag is not blameless for United&aposs current plight, of course. He is the man making decisions on the squad and a lot of them have been baffling. A mass injury crisis has been debilitating but even so, there has been little semblance of a tactical plan and chaos has reigned on the pitch. Even the few wins United have managed to scrape together came through late drama and one-off moments rather than from following a tactical approach, with the added help of United&aposs superior budget.
Team selections, substitutions and the defence of some players, while others have been thrown under the bus, are all ammunition to use against Ten Hag. That&aposs before you even get to his transfers. To be the most wasteful club in a league that also includes Todd Boehly is a staggering achievement.
And yet, it&aposs the players on the pitch who have once again given up. Downed tools on their manager and left him to fend off the wolves alone. The noises coming from the squad echo the reign of the three previous managers and it simply won&apost fly this time.
As the saying goes, if everyone you meet is an a****h***, then you&aposre the a****h***. United have had four vastly different managers in the last five years – in age, experience, pedigree, style of play, and approach to man management – yet the squad has managed to find a problem with all of them.
There is a litany of deep-seated problems at United that obviously go all the way to the very top. The negligent ownership of the Glazers has allowed a deep rot to take hold within the heart of the squad and United will not heal until it is dug out.
Rangnick said United required &aposopen heart surgery&apos but it&aposs actually a step further. They need a whole transplant.
Mediocrity has been rewarded at the club for far too long. Of the bulging squad, only a handful at best can be considered to be great players whom the club should keep, but none of them would get into a Manchester City or Liverpool starting XI.