Ten Hag’s Time At United Is Limited But Could Become Limitless!

Posted: August 18, 2022 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Eric ten Hag, Football, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur, Transfers
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Time. A flexible little word as in ‘what time is it?’ or ‘do we have time for that?’ or ‘the time has come, (the walrus said). Time, it is said, waits for no man. In today’s politically and gender correct sorry excuse for a world, we must also assume that time waits for no woman or change the expression to ‘time waits for no-one’.

Whatever, time certainly won’t wait for Eric ten Hag at Manchester United. If he were an ex-player who had been a very reliable substitute and had scored the winning goal in a Champion’s League final then, despite the fact that he was a terrible manager winning absolutely nothing, he could expect to be given at least three years.

On the other hand, should he turn out to be more like José Mourinho then, despite winning three trophies, he will be sacked after a couple of years.

These are the whims of people who do not have the first idea about football but are given very prominent positions at big clubs by owners who know even less!

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho prior to kick off

On paper, ten Hag should be a good fit at Old Trafford. He brings the discipline of van Gaal and Mourinho without any of the preconceptions of having managed a massive club before, so he doesn’t have their ego. He is a proven winner, albeit at a lower level, but this has included reaching the Champion’s League semi-finals so the potential is certainly there.

His first signings at United, understandably, have been players he knows well. They all have connections either with ten Hag’s Ajax or with the Eredivisie. They also started reasonably well in a very poor first game at Old Trafford against Brighton so hopefully the scattergun approach to transfers, which became traditional under Ed Woodward in his ceaseless quest to sell shirts, has been abandoned.

What could, and probably would, have been ten Hag’s first mistake in the transfer market was avoided when, in a panic, the club offered to buy Marko Arnautović as an emergency striker. Fortunately, the first bid was refused which gave the supporters enough time to vent their anger over another 33 year-old player being considered and the deal was dropped.

This is an example of an area in which ten Hag needs to improve. He wanted Arnautović because he had worked with him before but, at United, the supporters may not yet be able to get rid of their parasitic owners, but they can certainly make a manager’s life very uncomfortable if he isn’t called Solskjær or if he appears to be stumbling.

Ten Hag, reportedly, needs three years or five years depending upon which reports you read. Why does he need this long? Van Gaal didn’t, he just needed signings which were refused. Mourinho didn’t, he just needed signings which were also refused.

The problem now is that because the club was very poorly run and is still almost as bad, the signings they are prepared to make for ten Hag don’t want to play for United! The club just about qualified for the Europa League, finishing sixth, and were nowhere near in any of the cups, so it’s hardly surprising that top players are declining all offers!

Solskjær’s failures as a manager had been allowed to weaken the club for far too long. If Woodward was at fault for employing him, which he was, then he was certainly at fault for leaving him in the job for two and a half years too long.

Of course, when he was eventually sacked, this impacted on Ralf Rangnick who, as interim, had little or no authority, was undermined by the board at every turn and was refused any money for new players. Granted, as a scholar of the game rather than a manager, he was another bad choice by an incompetent board, but he still wasn’t backed in any way, shape or form.

So how much time does ten Hag need? The answer is simple really. He needs all the time in the world. How much time will he get? If he can turn things round and maybe win a cup in his first season then he will be given another. Then he needs to qualify for the Champion’s League in his second season. This will ensure he gets a third season and from there, who knows? Anything is possible.

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