Erik ten Hag delay theory emerges over Manchester United manager decision as confession made

Erik ten Hag looks on at the FA Cup final
-Credit: (Image: Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Manchester United remain locked in discussion over the future of manager Erik ten Hag as they continue to review the 2023/24 season.

United finished eighth in the Premier League, their lowest-ever finish, but the surprise 2-1 FA Cup Final win over Manchester City has added weight to the argument to keep Ten Hag in place for another campaign. A number of fans have suggested that the Dutchman deserves a chance with a proper football structure under Ineos, whilst some will argue that the season as a whole has been too poor for him to continue.

A decision is expected in the near future, but speculation grows that the club are continuing to look at other candidates with Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel among the big names linked. Below are some of the latest media reports surrounding United as well as a view on each one...

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United's Southgate complication

The Independent claims that England boss Gareth Southgate is Ineos' 'priority choice' to become the next United manager - a decision which has complicated matters. It is said that the Three Lions manager will not discuss his future until after Euro 2024 due to fears that it could become a distraction for England.

Southgate would reportedly be open to the United job, but will not engage in any talks until mid-July. The report adds that Ten Hag is pushing for more clarity on his future, but the club's hierarchy are unwilling to rush such a big decision.

Men Sport's Isaac Seelochan says: It baffles me as to why United are considering Southgate. The former Middlesbrough manager has done okay at international level with England, but club football is completely different.

Southgate has no credentials to manage a Premier League club, never mind arguably the biggest in English football. Sacking Ten Hag for Southgate would be a massive gamble and I cannot see how it would work.

Mctominay backs Ten Hag

Scott McTominay had been up for sale last summer, but the United academy graduate enjoyed a renaissance under Ten Hag last season to become a key member of the squad. The Scotland international scored 10 goals and played in 32 Premier League games as he took on a more advanced role, scoring crucial goals to ease the pressure on Ten Hag at different points throughout the season.

McTominay also started the FA Cup Final and has hailed Ten Hag, insisting the Dutchman deserved the Wembley triumph amid intense scrutiny over his job.

"Sometimes people can have their opinions and say whatever they want. City are an amazing team, but we stuck together," he told the Daily Mail.

"I want more moments like that. I came away from that FA Cup Final thinking: 'D'you know what, I want more of that'. That is my motivation. Every credit to Erik. The media makes it difficult. That's the case for any Manchester United manager, given the magnitude of the club. That's only normal, but he's handled it extremely well.

"I am very, very pleased for him... he deserved that FA Cup. It's not easy when everyone is writing you off, and you come up trumps. It makes a big difference to the feeling and confidence around the place. We know as players how big the club is. We expect everything that comes our way, whether it's positive or negative."

Men Sport's Isaac Seelochan says: It is clear that there is little ill feeling towards Ten Hag from the majority of his United players, with their performance during the FA Cup Final - and behaviour after it - a testament to that. Jonny Evans has echoed similar thoughts and the fanbase have been broadly supportive - especially after the win against City.

It is that victory over Pep Guardiola's team which has made it more difficult for Ineos, although one game should not have such a big impact. It is clear that fans are getting tired of the uncertainty, and a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later.