May 31, 2024

Erik ten Hag has been given a stay of execution by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is still pondering whether or not to sack the Manchester United manager.


Ten Hag was widely expected to be replaced as United boss this summer after only finishing eighth in the Premier League – the club’s worst ever finish in the division. But victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final on the weekend secured a spot in next season’s Europa League and has given Ratcliffe pause for thought.


Ratcliffe is undertaking a major overhaul at United, which has included finding a new chief executive, sporting director and technical director and dramatically trimming the number of staff employed by the club. The petrochemicals billionaire is convinced he can turn United around after taking sporting control in a £1.3billion deal for 27.7 per cent of the club, but the decision on Ten Hag’s future is no longer as straightforward as it once seemed.


Ten Hag is currently away on holiday and may have been expecting the worst, knowing that Ratcliffe and his INEOS team, which includes Sir Dave Brailsford and United’s interim chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc, were conducting an end-of-season review. However, The Telegraph reports that they are taking their time over the decision and are loath to rush into making a snap judgement they might regret.



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The end of the season has afforded the INEOS brains trust time to think after they spoke to the representatives of potential replacements for Ten Hag. The words of Ratcliffe from after he completed the deal to take over United in February explained the INEOS approach to decision making.


“We have to be careful we don’t rush at it in a way,” he said. “You don’t want to run to the wrong solution rather than walk to the correct solution.”


Ten Hag has one year left on his contract and consistently blamed United’s dreadful league form on the number of injuries in his squad. The FA Cup win and Europa League qualification means that if they do sack him, United will have to fork out more compensation to the Dutchman and his staff.


Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag is still waiting for a decision from the Manchester United hierarchy


The 54-year-old sent a defiant message after winning at Wembley: “If they don’t want me any more, I go somewhere else and win trophies, that’s what I’ve done my whole career.” That win appears to have changed the perception of the team, with 19-year-olds Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo scoring the goals to show a possible bright future ahead.


Whether they pull the trigger or not, INEOS have been preparing for a life without Ten Hag, having spoken to the agents of Thomas Frank, Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino, Roberto De Zerbi, Gareth Southgate and Kieran McKenna in recent weeks. McKenna has since ruled himself out of the running by committing his future to Ipswich and Southgate is believed to be considered the first choice.


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