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Is ten Hag safe after the Liverpool humiliation?

Angelos Anastassopoulos March 6, 2023

Liverpool and Manchester United form one of the world’s greatest and fiercest inter-city rivalries. Fate had their 211th meeting be the one to end with the largest victory in 129 years of the rivalry’s history. Or most humiliating defeat. Depending on your point of view. Is Erik ten Hag safe after this? After his, admittedly, toughest time as Manchester United’s manager?

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Losing 7-0 to your bitterest of rivals would send most managers to the Jobcentre. But for ten Hag this is not the case. Before the Liverpool game, he was one of the most untouchable head coaches in the Premier League. The odds of him being replaced before the end of the season have slightly dropped, but this doesn’t mean that he is on a hot seat. He has earned the trust of the board and the fans (at least for now), but we all know that this can change very quickly if the team does not recover from that.

Under ten Hag, Manchester United have seen a bit of a resurgence. The Red Devils won their first trophy, the League Cup, in six years. They knocked Barcelona out of the Europa League. They are alive in the hunt for the FA Cup and a European trophy. Theoretically, they are still in the mix for the Premier League title, even though this currently seems like science fiction.

Will ten Hag win another trophy? – The betting odds

Erik ten Hag’s United are the favourites to win the UEFA Europa League, valued at 3.50, ahead of Premier League leaders, Arsenal, and Juventus. The Red Devils have a tricky matchup in the Europa League, against one of the toughest teams in Spain. Real Betis are fifth in the La Liga standings, fighting for a Champions League spot. They just held Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw and are fired up ahead of their Old Trafford visit on Thursday.

According to the odds, Manchester United are the favourites for both the win in this first leg and the overall qualification. In fact, United’s qualification odds are at 1.25, while Real Betis are offered at 3.75.

United are among the favourites for a second domestic cup competition as well this season, as only four Premier League teams have reached the FA Cup Quarter-Finals. Erik ten Hag’s men are second down the odds list, offered at 2.50, behind their neighbours, Manchester City. United are playing Fulham at home, on Sunday, 19 March. Qualification is valued at 1.27.

As for the league title, things are way harder. They are third in the Premier League standings, 9 points behind City and 14 points behind Arsenal (with a match in hand). The odds of ten Hag winning the trophy with his team are at 41.00.

“Unprofessional” United

Erik ten Hag was obviously frustrated after his team was battered by Liverpool on Sunday. “It was unprofessional,” he said. He added that his players did not stick together as a team when things went south. He did, however, express his belief that things will turn around: “I know this team. We will reset and bounce back.”

Criticism

Manchester United fans have taken over social media with their criticism, but their rage is not geared towards the Dutchman. It is the club captain, Bruno Fernandes, who is heavily attacked for his behaviour. It all started with Chris Sutton’s comments, which sparked a campaign, demanding the Portuguese to be stripped of the captaincy.

He dived, he acted as if he was hit in the face by Konate when he barely touched him on the chest, and he even kicked Trent Alexander-Arnold when the ball was out of play. Amazingly he was not booked and by the end he was barely trying, fans say. After the final whistle, he (and most of his teammates) headed straight towards the dressing rooms, but it was Raphael Varane that seemingly commanded everyone to go and thank the visiting fans.

The most notable criticism against ten Hag came from Cristiano Ronaldo’s biggest groupie, Piers Morgan. With a series of tweets, he attacked the Dutch manager, who just a few days ago (when asked about his decision to kick Ronaldo out of United) said that he sleeps well at night. “Good luck with your sleep tonight, genius,” read his tweet.

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