I observed what Erik ten Hag did near the tunnel—it told a lot about his situation

Erik ten Hag's argument for retaining his position as Manchester United manager was weakened by Saturday's 1-1 draw

Apr 28, 2024 - 17:11
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I observed what Erik ten Hag did near the tunnel—it told a lot about his situation

I observed what Erik ten Hag did near the tunnel—it told a lot about his situation

I observed what Erik ten Hag did near the tunnel—it told a lot about his situation at Manchester United. 

Erik ten Hag's argument for retaining his position as Manchester United manager was weakened by Saturday's 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Burnley. 

United failed to display sustained attacking vigor throughout the game, finishing with 43% possession and fewer completed passes. One positive was Antony's first Premier League goal in 12 months, which came on 79 minutes.

Andre Onana had a good game overall but his clumsiness allowed VAR to award Burnley a spot kick, which Zeki Amdouni duly converted three minutes from time. United fans booed at full-time with Ten Hag facing an uncertain future. Here are three more things that happened during the match.

Ten Hag repeats trick

Ten Hag has made a point of producing sustained applause to match-goers when he emerges from the tunnel in recent games, more than he did previously, and did so again against Burnley. It seems he realises the context of his situation.

It’s an indication that the Dutchman knows this season has been nowhere near good enough and is trying to get the Old Trafford crowd on side ahead of a decision on his future in the next few weeks. The boos that rang out when he took off Rasmus Hojlund and Kobbie Mainoo suggest he’s losing the battle with a number of fans.

A (bad) full circle moment

The manager also seemed to mirror a tactic first seen in his competitive debut, all the way back in the 2022/23 opening day loss to Brighton. Hojlund led the line on Saturday but Christian Eriksen was often the most advanced player when Andre Onana had the ball.

The Dane had played as the striker, a false nine, in Ten Hag’s first ever United game and it failed miserably. He didn’t get much luck this weekend, either.

Fans show McTominay appreciation

Fans were chanting the name of Scott McTominay shortly before he came on. It might be a small thing to notice, but it shows how far the midfielder - who ended the match injured - has come in the estimations of supporters under Ten Hag.

Many wanted him gone after the appalling 2021/22 season and would not have batted an eyelid if he had moved last summer. But while few would see him as a starter, his ten goals at important times this campaign have elevated his status among match-goers.

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