After a dismal start to the season that has made chances of Premier League gold already look bleak, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is starting to feel the heat from the Red Devils’ irate supporters.
United have dropped three of their first five matches for the first time in Premier League history, and they will have a difficult assignment when they begin their Champions League campaign on Wednesday away to Bayern Munich.
Ten Hag had escaped criticism in the first few weeks of the campaign as supporters directed their ire towards a number of off-field problems.
Even if the supporters want them to leave, the Glazer family seems to have put off selling the team.
In order to investigate charges of domestic abuse brought by his ex-girlfriend, Brazilian winger Antony has been granted a leave of absence.
Even though the 21-year-old’s abuse allegations were withdrawn, United concluded last month that Mason Greenwood had no place at Old Trafford.
The third-place position in the Premier League last year and the League Cup victory, which ended the team’s six-year trophy drought, were credited to Ten Hag for getting United back into the Champions League.
When he introduced new addition Rasmus Hojlund into the match against Brighton on Saturday, he was met with a chorus of jeers midway through the second half.
Hojlund, who was making his home debut following a £64 million ($79 million) transfer from Atalanta, was being supported, and the Dutch coach attempted to turn that into a positive.
The Danish player has only recently regained his health, and Ten Hag could ill afford to lose another important player by making him play 90 minutes too soon.
But if Harry Kane wins in Germany, United’s long-term wager that the 20-year would pay off could suffer a backlash.
United never put Tottenham to the test in their pursuit of the England captain, who instead signed with Bayern for 100 million euros ($110 million, £86 million).
With four goals in as many games, Kane has gotten off to a fast start, while Hojlund has yet to score for United.
Jadon Sancho is suspended after an altercation with his boss, which will only make things worse for Manchester United going forward.
Sancho, who only two years ago cost £73 million from Borussia Dortmund, has been told to work alone after complaining that he was used as a “scapegoat” when Ten Hag blasted his subpar performances in training.
Even Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford were not given preferential treatment, which was credited to Ten Hag’s strict nature as part of his achievement in his first season.
Because Sancho has fallen short of expectations, the United manager hasn’t yet received significant backlash from the supporters.
However, Ten Hag is under more pressure now to improve the atmosphere at the club by improving his on-field performance as a result of that decision.
Making an impact in the Champions League is even more crucial to the success or failure of Ten Hag’s second season because United already has a nine-point deficit to local rival Manchester City in the Premier League.
Ten Hag stated, “It’s about character,” before to his arrival back in Munich, where he previously served as the Bayern B team’s coach from 2013 to 2015.
The team must now demonstrate its resiliency, strength, and cohesiveness, as well as which members are taking the initiative, exemplifying the team’s values, and assuming leadership roles.