Sports

Premier League: Pressure On Man United Manager Ten Hag

The Old Trafford boss will have to show results after spending $426 million

Erik ten Hag.
info_icon

The stakes are higher for Erik ten Hag in his second season at Manchester United.

A year into one of the most daunting jobs in world soccer, the Dutch coach has spent big ($426.3 million) and made some even bigger calls.

As a result, he is now expected to bring the good times back to United.

While Ten Hag's first season was a success on many levels, there were also blunt reminders of the work needed to be done to turn his team into a genuine Premier League title contender.

He delivered his first trophy by winning the League Cup and also secured a return to the UEFA Champions League.

There were notable wins against Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Barcelona, as well as a feel-good factor among supporters after a decade of decline since the retirement of United great Alex Ferguson.

Under Ten Hag's guidance, Marcus Rashford scored a career-best 30 goals.

Those were the highs.

At the other end of the scale, there were humbling losses. United was routed 4-0 by Brentford, 6-3 by City and 7-0 by Liverpool, which was the club's heaviest competitive defeat in 90 years.

United also advanced to the FA Cup final but was comfortably beaten by City. The 2-1 scoreline did not reflect City's dominance in that match.

In losing that final at Wembley Stadium, not only did United fail to stop City's treble of titles, which also included the Premier League and Champions League, but the game underlined the gap that still existed between the teams.

In response, Ten Hag has made big calls in the off-season.

Long-standing goalkeeper David De Gea was released when his contract expired and replaced by Andre Onana, who will better allow Ten Hag to focus on building play from the defence.

Harry Maguire has been stripped of the captaincy, with Bruno Fernandes taking over.

The United manager has also found an unlikely replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo at centre forward. Despite being repeatedly linked with a move for Harry Kane, Ten Hag opted to sign the largely untried Rasmus Højlund, who was bought from Atalanta for a fee that could reach 72 million pounds ($92 million).

 “I think he has such a huge potential," Ten Hag said of the 20-year-old Denmark international, adding that “the whole team was waiting for a type like him".

There is little doubt United needed more goals, even after Rashford's outstanding campaign.

Its return of 58 goals in 38 league games last season was the fewest of any team in the top six.

While United describe Højlund as one of the “best players in the world for his age group,” he has been handed a huge responsibility to fill the void left by Ronaldo's departure last year.

He will face comparisons with Erling Haaland at City, despite the fact they are at different stages of their development.

But United will need him to deliver quickly to provide the goals the team lacked last season.

Ten Hag's other key addition to his squad is England midfielder Mason Mount, who joined from Chelsea for 55 million pounds (USD 69 million) and was immediately given the iconic No. 7 shirt worn by United greats like Ronaldo, David Beckham and Eric Cantona.

Advertisement

The summer business takes his total transfer spending to 334.6 million pounds (USD 426.3 million) in his time at Old Trafford.

That type of expenditure adds to the pressure on Ten Hag to return the club to the summit of English soccer sooner than later.

By comparison, Pep Guardiola has spent 230.8 million pounds (USD 294.1 million) over the same period.

Important: We are happy to announce that we have successfully completed the migration of our site @outlookindia.com to enhance your experience as valuable user. But due to the scale of operations some data discrepancies may arise. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding during this period.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement