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Troubling stat underlines the difficult job Ten Hag has to salvage Manchester United’s season

People have already started to turn on Erik ten Hag following Manchester United's defeat against Fulham.
People have already started to turn on Erik ten Hag following Manchester United's defeat against Fulham.

Erik ten Hag has his work cut out for him as revealed by troubling Manchester United stat.

Erik ten Hag has been having a terrible time at the helm of Manchester United this season. The team overachieved during the Dutchman’s first season at Old Trafford and that has put a lot of pressure on them this year as well.

No one expected Erik ten Hag to come in and finish third on the Premier League table. But, he did and the same way the Red Devils also lifted the Carabao Cup last season.

However, the Dutchman’s fortune must’ve taken a turn for the worse this season. Manchester United have been knocked out of the Carabao Cup, they have also been knocked out of the Champions League. Moreover, the team is currently sitting at eight on the Premier League table with the FA Cup being their only hope for silverware this season.

Can Andre Onana be blamed for Manchester United's poor performance in the Champions League.
Can Andre Onana be blamed for Manchester United’s poor performance in the Champions League?

Why is Manchester United underperforming this season?

The Red Devils’ struggles can easily be chalked up to injuries this season. Erik ten Hag has been unable to field the squad that he would on a normal day. However, hiding behind injuries is not the Old Trafford way.

There are greater or should I say weaker powers at work at Manchester United, which have contributed to their horrible season. If we have a look at the Premier League table it is clear to see where the issue lies.

The Red Devils are sitting at eight, which is already poor for their standards. However, the main problem is not their position, the games they’ve won or even the games they’ve lost. The Dutchman’s real problem is the negative goal difference.

Negative goal difference highlights the tough job that Ten Hag has ahead of him

Erik ten Hag needs to do something about the Manchester United defence. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)
Erik ten Hag needs to do something about the Manchester United defence. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Among the top ten clubs on the Premier League table, Erik ten Hag’s squad is the only one with a negative goal difference. The team scored 24 goals while concerning 29, leaving them with a -5 GD.

The offence has somewhat done its job, even though they are the only team in the top ten with less than 25 goals. The more pressing matter for Ten Hag is his defensive line.

If Andre Onana and the Dutchman’s defenders of choice were doing their job properly this wouldn’t be happening to the team. Manchester United would likely have been high up the table if this were the case.

How can Erik ten Hag salvage the season for Manchester United?

The first step for the Dutchman would be to try and improve his team’s defence. He has a lot of quality on the team, with players like Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. However, Erik ten Hag needs to utilise these players better if he hopes to win.

The attack also needs a lot of improvements, but, the defence takes precedence at the moment. The return of Casemiro is huge for the team. The former Real Madrid man will play a key role on the Dutchman’s squad during the second half of the season.

Once Tyrell Malacia also returns to the lineup some new tactics have to be introduced into the squad to improve their defence. This will go a long way towards salvaging the season.

Andre Onana had an embarrassing time at AFCON.
Andre Onana had an embarrassing time at AFCON.

The more pressing matter is Manchester United’s goalkeeper, Andre Onana. The Cameroonian has conceded 47 goals in only 30 appearances. Clearly, Onana does not possess the qualities that are required to be at Old Trafford.

If he cannot perform up to the mark, Erik ten Hag needs to bite the bullet and let him go. Altay Bayindir may be inexperienced but the Dutchman needs to give him the same opportunities that have been given to the Cameroonian. Surely, Bayindir can’t be worse than Onana has been throughout the season.

Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw have been doing their jobs wonderfully this season. Even young Kobbie Mainoo has been better than some of the veterans. Ten Hag should be giving these players as many opportunities as he can and the results will not disappoint.

Erik ten Hag needs to make some decisions about who stands in goal for Manchester United. (Image Credit: Getty Images)
Erik ten Hag needs to make some decisions about who stands in goal for Manchester United. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

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There is a very good chance for the Red Devils to win the FA Cup and at least finish top five in the Premier League. If Erik ten Hag makes the right changes and can rally his team, Manchester United might just have a chance yet.

However, there will be no improvements to the defence if the man in goal doesn’t change. Andre Onana either needs to step his game up or clear the way for Bayindir to show his stuff. Without this Manchester United may not have a chance.

Written by Sameer Khan

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