Manchester United sent clear Erik ten Hag instruction after massive Coventry City scare

Mark Robins and Erik ten Hag
Coventry City may have forced Manchester United into Erik ten Hag decision after Wembley 'survival' -Credit:Eddie Keogh

Coventry City did themselves proud against Manchester United in the FA Cup.

3-0 down to 3-3 against Premier League opposition is impressive but to do it against a multi-million pound team is some doing. Mark Robins' side were unfortunate not to be victorious at Wembley but it just wasn't meant to be.

As Rasmus Hojlund converted from 12 yards out, the red side of the national stadium erupted. The reaction from those in United colours on the pitch were muted compared to your usual penalty shoot-out win as an aura of embarrassment took over.

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Following the spectacle, Manchester Evening News' Manchester United correspondent, Samuel Luckhurst, has explained how the Sky Blues' effort could be the final nail in the coffin for Erik ten Hag. He wrote: "You're getting sacked in the morning," hollered the Coventry fans. Erik ten Hag probably won't but he should.

"Antony cupped his ears as Rasmus Hojlund celebrated the decisive penalty in the shootout. Almost every other United player in the centre circle was restrained. They were that embarrassed. Antony was embarrassing.

"Even in victory, this was a defeat for Ten Hag. United's spineless performance after the 70-minute mark and fortuitous progression should settle any lingering debate over the manager's future. This was more damning evidence to file in the teeming dossier marked 'Ten Hag out'.

"United survived a Coventry comeback, a disallowed goal in the 121st minute and an unsuccessful penalty from Casemiro at the start of the spotkicks. Ten Hag will probably survive the season.

""Three-nil and you f****d it up" crowed the Coventry fans, who then started a chorus of "You're getting sacked in the morning". There is a case to be made for that.

"Coventry manager Mark Robins kept one United manager in a job and he has possibly put one out of his, despite the end of the Championship side's FA Cup run. They were millimetres away from one of the most famous results at Wembley when substitute Victor Torp pounced in added time of extra-time.

"Booing greeted the full-time whistle from United supporters when their team was still in the FA Cup. They are in the final yet this is a hollow achievement. The stern expressions on the faces of Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire at the final shrill confirmed that. The United end emptied quicker than Coventry's.

"United, incapable of killing contests, went from 3-0 up to 3-3 in 21 madcap minutes. Conceding in quick succession and in added time are death knells for this squad. And the manager is a dead man walking.

"Only Sir Matt Busby, Tommy Docherty, Sir Alex Ferguson and now Ten Hag have guided United to successive FA Cup finals. Ten Hag, the only besuited player or staff member, will require another Cup final suit on May 25.

"The daunting challenge will be to stop the rot against City in a repeat of last year's final. United have lost the last three derbies convincingly though City were unconvincing at Wembley against Chelsea. United will not be giving them sleepless nights.

"Sir Jim Ratcliffe had showered and suited up for his attendance in the royal box after running the London Marathon. He was surrounded by power brokers active (Sir Dave Brailsford and Jason Wilcox) and dormant (Avram Glazer) and, whatever the outcome of United's finale at Wembley in five weeks, a verdict will have to be swiftly declared on the manager's position if it hasn't already. Ten Hag has to go."

For his part, Ten Hag hit back at speculation in his post-match press conference, saying: ""That would be crazy. You need the tools to manage this, with all the injuries we don’t have so many tools, we don’t even have a back four in their best positions.

"On that part I have to give the team a compliment, the players managed that, they were in a position that is not in their best. They gave 100%, which they should, but it’s not always easy to play the best football when you’re not in your best position."