Erik ten Hag is out excuses as Man United manager - Newcastle and Chelsea comparison damns him

As the clock ticked down at Selhurst Park you could hear the sound of defiance coming from an away end who deserve better than this. Soon, that is surely what they will get.

If the FA Cup semi-final collapse was a dagger in the heart of Erik ten Hag's chances of staying on as Manchester United manager, this was the night any possibility of that happening was surely snuffed out. On May Day Sir Jim Ratcliffe needs to be sending out a Mayday for a new manager at Old Trafford.

At least they put themselves into a position from which to collapse against Coventry at Wembley. At Selhurst Park they were just humiliated from start to finish and in every area of the pitch. They were flattered by only losing 4-0.

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Ten Hag will again point to the injury situation he has had to fight against all season. He will rail against the injustice of a disallowed goal in the first half. But this team contained 10 internationals in the starting XI and five players signed for fees of more than £47million. The excuses won't wash any more and time is up for the Dutchman.

United look unlikely to qualify for European football next season and unless they opt to change manager sooner rather than later then they are heading to Wembley to be toyed with by Manchester City. Let's not pretend this team would stand a chance under the arch right now. It has got so bad that Ratcliffe might have to act before then.

The club that he now part-owns have endured some dismal weekends in this disastrous season, but few have been quite as wretched as this long one. They saw their best centre-back of the campaign ruled out for the rest of the Premier League season, watched Newcastle and Chelsea win convincingly to leapfrog them and then turned in a performance of such startling ineptitude at Selhurst Park that it was difficult to comprehend.

United haven't lost this many top-flight games since they lost 16 in 1989/90. They could match that tally if they lose the final three and on current performance levels, you wouldn't bet against it. City certainly won't be holding their breath for a favour against Arsenal next weekend.

The comparisons with Newcastle and Chelsea are certainly damning, both for United and for Ten Hag, whose excuses simply don't stand up anymore. He knows he cannot survive this shambles.

Newcastle have been plagued by injuries all season as well. They won 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup with two full-backs in the centre of defence. Unwanted full-backs, at that. They have been without three of their first-choice back four for the last game and a half, against Sheffield United and Burnley, but have scored eight goals to one in that time.

Chelsea have been a calamity for much of the season but have now lost just one of their last 12 games in all competitions. There is a sense that they are improving under Mauricio Pochettino's methods. The same cannot be said of United under Ten Hag.

When they beat Tottenham 2-0 on Thursday, every outfield player on Chelsea's bench was 21 or under and the majority had never played for the club. They still won. Nicolas Jackson's double against West Ham on Sunday now means he has outscored Rasmus Hojlund this season, although they have an almost identical goal-per-90 record of 0.44. While the 22-year-old Chelsea striker looks to be getting there, Hojlund has gone backwards of late.

He is not alone in that regard. This is a collection of players who aren't improving, despite a clear schedule in the second half of the season allowing them more training ground time. That is also damning for a manager and his staff.

Two years ago Ten Hag sat in the stands at Selhurst Park to watch the disastrous Ralf Rangnick era come to an end. Rangnick had recommended "open heart surgery" on United and for a while it looked like they had just the man to carry out the operation. But now it's own United reign that is on life support.