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Erik ten Hag will remain Manchester United manager

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Erik Ten Hag will remain as Manchester United manager after the club’s end-of-season review culminated in the decision to keep the Dutchman on – and he has agreed to remain at Old Trafford.

After a period of significant uncertainty over Ten Hag’s future, United held talks with the 54-year-old on Tuesday and both parties were in favor of his continued tenure.

Ten Hag’s current contract with United runs until next June, with the option of a 12-month extension, and they will now enter negotiations over extending these terms.

After winning the FA Cup last month, beating Manchester City 2-1 at Wembley Stadium, The athlete It was reported that the club was scheduled to conduct a review of the 2023-2024 season, including Ten Hag’s performance.

In the event of a coaching change, United have looked at potential replacements including former Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel, former Brighton & Hove Albion coach Roberto De Zerbe, recently departed Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino, and Brentford coach Thomas Frank. and Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna.

But at the end of a process led by United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford, the decision was made to move forward with Ten Hag.


The decision has been made for Ten Hag to stay (Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images)

The run-up to the FA Cup final has been largely overshadowed by speculation over his position, with the manager admitting afterwards that he “didn’t know” if this would be his last game in charge after what he called “rubbish”. campaign.

United recorded their lowest finishing position of the Premier League era (eighth) with a points total of just 60, just two points better than their worst tally since the competition began in 1992. A goal difference of minus one was the wrong side of zero for the first time. . Time in 34 years.

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They were also knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage – finishing last in the group – and were eliminated from the UEFA Cup at the fourth round before victory at Wembley ensured they avoided missing out on European football altogether.

After confirming INEOS’s minority investment in the club in February, Ratcliffe stressed the importance of having to “go for the right solution, not the wrong one”.

The new football operations hierarchy has already made a number of changes to the football structure at Old Trafford, with Manchester City’s Omar Berrada set to arrive as the club’s new chief executive in July.

They also look set to bring in Dan Ashworth from Newcastle United as their new sporting director, while they have appointed Jason Wilcox as the club’s technical director.

The FA Cup was the second trophy in as many seasons for Ten Hag since his appointment as United manager in 2022.

In his first season, Ten Hag finished third in the Premier League and won the League Cup, while United also reached the FA Cup Final, where they lost to City.

He said: “Winning two titles in two years is not a bad thing, and three finals in two years is not a bad thing.” “If they don’t want me, I’ll go somewhere else to win championships because that’s what I do.”

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Manchester United season review: Mystifying, ridiculous and farcical – and then they won the FA Cup

What do the numbers say?

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The 2023-24 season was a record-breaking season for United under Ten Hag, but not for the reasons he wanted. The final eighth-place finish is the club’s lowest finish since 1989-90, and it is the first time United have finished a season with a negative goal difference since then too. For context, United’s average goal difference in 21 Premier League seasons under Sir Alex Ferguson was +44.

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Many of the team’s problems were defensive. The 58 goals conceded is the most in a single league season since 1978-79, while only David Moyes’ West Ham and the three relegated teams have conceded more expected goals than United. They even managed to surpass Derby County from 2007 to 2008 in terms of shots conceded. In case you’ve forgotten, Derby won just one game that season and went down with a low overall score of 11 points.

United sit last in their Champions League group, and their total goals conceded at 15 is the most ever allowed by a Premier League team at that stage of the competition.

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Manchester United’s season in numbers: the good, the bad and the ugly

Ten Hag’s attack has struggled at various points too, and the 2-0 defeat at West Ham in December was the first time the club had failed to score in four successive matches in all competitions since 1992.

And the records keep coming. In February, Fulham’s Alex Iwobi scored the last winning goal for a away team at Old Trafford in Premier League history, while in April United were ahead in the 100th minute away to Chelsea, but managed to lose the match 4-3. They finished the season with nine defeats in all competitions at Old Trafford, something that had not happened since 1973-74 – the last season in which they suffered relegation from the top flight.

‘Remarkable transformation’

Analysis by Mark Critchley

Although it may seem unlikely on the morning of the FA Cup Final, Ten Hag will still be in charge at Old Trafford next season. And it’s not just because United won at Wembley, although that undoubtedly helped their cause.

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United’s hierarchy spent their end-of-season review weighing this unexpected win over Manchester City and a second title in as many years against a largely miserable season, which ended in the club’s lowest finish of the Premier League era.


Ten Hag will now enter negotiations for a new contract (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

As bad as it was to finish eighth after a Champions League group stage exit, there were also mitigating factors in Ten Hag’s favor, most notably the relentless and severe injury crisis which has undoubtedly affected the results.

United have held talks with several potential successors should a change be deemed necessary, but the only negotiations now are to extend Ten Hag’s contract. It’s a remarkable turnaround, and even Ten Hag himself may have had a hard time seeing it coming just over two weeks ago.

(Top image: Michael Regan – FA/FA via Getty Images)

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