Premier League

Erik ten Hag defiantly states why Man Utd owners won’t sack him

Rasmus Hojlund

Erik ten Hag is confident Manchester United’s owners will not sack him because they have the “common sense” to recognise the extenuating circumstances.

The Dutchman is under increasing pressure at United after a difficult campaign dogged by inconsistency and injuries to key players, but has led the club to the FA Cup final for the second year in a row.

At times, United’s squad has been decimated by absentees, and their ongoing defensive injury crisis – which has seen first-choice duo Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw miss most of the season – has led to 32 different backline combinations being played over the course of 2023/24.

United’s lack of cohesion was ruthlessly exposed at Crystal Palace on Monday night, as United fell to a chastening 4-0 defeat at Selhurst Park, and things may not get any better when Premier League title chasers Arsenal visit Old Trafford on Sunday.

Rumours that new minority owners INEOS will look to replace Ten Hag as manager this summer continue to dominate the news cycle, but the former Ajax boss insists he does not fear the same fate as fellow countryman Louis van Gaal, who was sacked 48 hours after lifting the FA Cup with United in 2016.

“No. I think they [INEOS] have common sense,” Ten Hag said when asked if he’s concerned about losing his job. “They see when you have 32 different backlines, when you lose eight centre-backs, when they see we use 13 different partnerships at centre-half, when we don’t have a left full-back, when we have so many injuries.

“They know that will have a negative impact on results but still we are fighting and it’s a huge FA Cup final.

“We are very happy to be there, it can still be a highlight for this season. Of course we are not happy but we know the reasons why we are underperforming in the ranking now and that of course is the injuries.

Rasmus Hojlund

Manchester United were taught a lesson at Crystal Palace / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

“I am a realistic person. I see this when I analyse and no team will perform when you have so many injuries in key areas.”

Ten Hag was probed over whether he’d like to see United offer public assurances over his future, but the 54-year-old was adamant that’s a question that should be put to the owners instead of him.

“This question: you have to make to the owners, not to me. Once again, you have to make this question. It is your opinion and you have to make this question to them, not to me.

“That’s my job. I take responsibility for that to speak to you. That is why I am the…

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