Manchester United told to make Erik ten Hag decision after technical director ‘mistake’

Erik ten Hag is still the manager of Manchester United
-Credit: (Image: Michael Regan - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Dutch football legend Marco van Basten says Manchester United should not sack Erik ten Hag but admits the manager has shot himself in the foot with several transfers.

Despite rumours that he might be dismissed after the FA Cup final win over Manchester City, MEN Sport understands that United have not yet made a decision and could still keep hold of the head coach.

United’s season was made sweeter by the cup lift at Wembley - which signalled two trophies in as many years for Ten Hag - after recording their worst ever Premier League finish. They had also exited the Champions League and League Cup by Christmas.

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Ten Hag has also been criticised for poor transfer choices with the likes of Antony and Casemiro failing to show prolonged quality while Mason Mount and Tyrell Malacia have been beset by injury problems.

Antony cost £85m on deadline day in 2022, the second highest fee ever paid by United. Casemiro cost an initial £60m and was handed a five-year contract aged 30 at the time. Mount and Malacia cost a combined £68m.

Van Basten says the cup win shows Ten Hag is a coach that can carry United forward but reckons that he was unnecessarily doing the work of a technical director when it came to sanctioning transfers for huge fees.

Speaking about the cup final triumph, Van Basten told Rondo, via the Metro: “It was not a good match, but it is great that he managed to win against City with such a limited team.

“Despite few opportunities with the players, he was still able to win the FA Cup, which was very important. As a result, they play European football. I think he is still the former man to get something done with Manchester United to box. I think they should give him time.

“I know from Ajax that he is a good trainer. He did well at FC Utrecht, and at Go Ahead Eagles. He is someone who can build, who can make a team stronger.

“But you have to be lucky that you have a good group. He has, and that is a mistake on his part, he bought many players for a lot of money, who did not perform well. That is the job of a technical director, he took on too much.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has appointed Jason Wilcox as the new technical director with John Murtough stepping down from his football director role. Omar Berrada is meanwhile set to arrive from Man City as CEO as United try and prise sporting director Dan Ashworth away from Newcastle.

In the meantime, Van Basten has thrown his weight behind fellow Dutchman Ten Hag, who told reporters after the win at Wembley that he wishes to complete his “project” at United, having been hampered by injuries this campaign.

Van Basten continued: “I do think he is capable of taking Manchester to a higher level. And that takes time, especially with a year like this, in which they have had to play so often with a different composition.

“Then you could say that he has to take care of that himself, but there were just a lot of injuries. I think you have to take that into account.”