Manchester United finally make decision over Erik ten Hag’s future after end-of-season review

Erik ten Hag will remain as Manchester United manager (Picture: Getty)

Manchester United’s hierarchy have decided to stick with Erik ten Hag as head coach beyond the summer after concluding their end-of-season review.

Ten Hag’s future has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks on the back of a poor campaign for United in the Premier League, in which the club finished the season down in eighth place.

However, last month’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester City strengthened Ten Hag’s case to remain in charge and the speculation over the manager’s position has at long last been brought to an end, with United opting to keep faith with the Dutchman.

Widespread reports prior to the cup final suggested Ten Hag would be relieved of his duties regardless of the outcome at Wembley and, after the match, United’s co-owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, fuelled these rumours by swerving questions over Ten Hag’s future.

It’s believed Ten Hag had grown frustrated with the drawn-out nature of United’s post-season review, which began with immediate effect in the wake of his side’s shock defeat of City.

But the 54-year-old – who has been enjoying a break with his family in Ibiza – can now look forward to the 2024/25 campaign, which will be the manager’s third season in charge at Old Trafford.

Several high-profile names were identified as possible candidates for the hot seat at United, including Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel, Roberto De Zerbi, Gareth Southgate and Kieran McKenna, before INEOS made the decision to press ahead with Ten Hag.

Ten Hag’s current contract in the north west runs through to next June and includes the option of a further 12 months. Negotiations will begin in due course over extending those terms.

Why did Erik ten Hag find himself under so much pressure?

The Dutch manager ended United’s six-year wait for a major trophy last year (Picture: Getty)

Much was expected of Ten Hag when he arrived at the Theatre of Dreams from Ajax back in the summer of 2022.

United secured a third-placed finish in the Premier League in Ten Hag’s opening season at the helm – one year after a desperately disappointing campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick in which the club finished sixth.

Ten Hag also steered the Red Devils to the final of the FA Cup and lifted the Carabao Cup in his debut campaign, as the club’s long-suffering fans were able to celebrate a first major trophy in six years.

His first season didn’t come without issues, though. The former Ajax boss was involved a public falling out with club legend Cristiano Ronaldo, who would go on to leave United as a result.

Ten Hag turned his back on Sancho after a falling out (Picture: Getty)

United endured a worrying run of form the following season before a dispute arose with another player, this time Jadon Sancho, who was frozen out of the first-team and sent on loan to Borussia Dortmund.

Across his tenure at Old Trafford, Ten Hag has found himself in the firing line for a number of signings brought in on his watch, too. Casemiro – a £70million arrival from Real Madrid – has at times appeared a shadow of his former self, particularly in the back-end of last season when he filled in as a makeshift centre-back.

Meanwhile, Antony has failed to live up to his hefty price tag after following Ten Hag from Ajax to United in an eye-watering deal worth around £86m two years ago.

It appeared that the the writing was on the wall for Ten Hag as Ratcliffe failed to publicly back him for months after his minority takeover completion. But after United won the FA Cup to qualify for the Europa League, the British billionaire clearly had a change of heart.

What have fellow managers said about Ten Hag?

Guardiola’s City suffered a shock defeat to United in last month’s FA Cup final (Picture: Getty)

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of City’s FA Cup final loss to United, Pep Guardiola branded Ten Hag an ‘extraordinary manager’.

‘They have to take a decision,’ the Spaniard said at his post-match press conference.

‘He’s a lovely person and an extraordinary manager. Winning the FA Cup is important for them like last season it was for us.’

Arteta has said he has ‘huge respect’ for the United manager (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said he had ‘huge respect’ for Ten Hag as speculation mounted that his opposite number could be sacked last month.

‘I can only talk about what I think about him as a coach. He’s an excellent coach,’ Arteta told reporters.

‘I admire his teams, both Ajax and United. Hopefully he gets the time because we are colleagues and we know how difficult it is in this league and what the margins are and yeah, hopefully that’s the case because I think he is an excellent coach.

‘I know what he’s trying to do, I know how he does it, I know how difficult it is to prepare against him, so I have huge respect for him.’

Van Gaal encouraged United to be patient with Ten Hag this week (Picture: Getty)

Former United boss Louis van Gaal, meanwhile, said he felt Ten Hag deserved to be given more time when quizzed on his fellow countryman’s future earlier this week.

‘Yes of course [he should not be sacked]. But I needed also more time at Manchester United,’ Van Gaal told Sky Sports.

‘I also won the FA Cup and before me for 20 years nobody has got the FA Cup. Now Erik is winning the FA Cup and also first year qualifying for the Champions League so I don’t think you have to sack him.

‘He needs more time but I can also be more critical. He has not done it ‘fantastically you can give criticism but he has also shown he is a good manager.’

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