Manchester United news: Gary Neville reveals why Erik ten Hag is ‘vulnerable’ at Old Trafford | Football

Erik ten Hag faces an uncertain future (Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Manchester United legend Gary Neville says Erik ten Hag’s position as manager will be ‘vulnerable’ if he can’t produce a consistent style of play with the team.

The Red Devils drew 2-2 with Tottenham at Old Trafford on Sunday, when Ange Postecoglou’s side had 64% possession.

Though United arguably had the better chances and could have scored a last minute winner through Scott McTominay, Spurs dominated play despite having a number of key players out.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe watched on from the Directors’ Box, with the 71-year-old taking in his first game in person since his £1.3bn investment in the club was announced.

Ratcliffe will work with Sir Dave Brailsford and Jean-Claude Blanc to appoint a sporting director and head of recruitment.

But Neville says Ten Hag’s position will be under threat if he continues to fail to produce a style of play.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe visits Carrington Training Complex

Ratcliffe met Ten Hag last week (Photo by Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images)

‘We need to see a style of play develop in the next few months or else I think the coach will be vulnerable because ultimately the new owner will come in and want to see how we’re going to play, want electricity, want razzmatazz.

Manchester United have historically been box office. Spurs are box office. I love watching Spurs play football. Manchester United are a hard watch. They’ve got some exciting, talented players, it just needs to somehow gel in the next few months, and I hope it can for Erik ten Hag.

‘I’m talking about patterns and combinations that players can rely upon when they go through difficult moments in a match. You rely upon the memory of what you’ve been working on in practice to come out on the pitch at the weekend.

‘The last time that I saw combinations of play and a series of passes that looked like they belonged to one another was under Louis van Gaal. What I see here is a collection of single passes where a player receives it and seem to have to work out where the next player is, rather than knowing where the next player is.

United are eight points off the top four (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

United are eight points off the top four (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

‘That’s really surprising me because Dutch coaching has been masterful over the last 30, 40, 50 years. Ten Hag’s coaching, being at Bayern Munich and then going to Ajax, he’s produced fantastic teams that have had really good combinations and patterns of play that I would see in a really well-functioning team. And I don’t see anything of it.

‘They really struggle to be able to know where each other are and put combinations and patterns together. That’s the bit in the next few months that I think needs to come. Results, yes. Of course, it is nice to win. There’s no real electricity in this stadium at the moment watching the team so what we need to see is something develop, that the team are improving, progressing and on the right track.

‘Forget who the players are for now because Spurs have proven today without their best players that you can go out there and still play in the same way.

‘That is one thing I noticed today. Where is the default style of play in this team? I don’t see it and that is a real concern. We know United under Ole and Jose Mourinho were more counter-attacking, but that’s not what we expected from Erik ten Hag.

‘We expected that high pressing, front foot, high tempo possession-play. He said something a few weeks ago that he can’t deliver that at Manchester United which I thought was a really interesting thing for him to say because other managers have proven at Brighton and at Tottenham that you can deliver with players that maybe aren’t even as valuable in the transfer market as the ones that United have.

‘That is what we need to see from United. How are they going to play? How are they going to win matches? What is the strategy? It hampers those attacking stats a lot because if you don’t have a style of play, it really is a struggle.

‘I knew exactly where the next pass was going when I was playing for Manchester United. I played with those players for many years. Obviously, Erik ten Hag has not had many years but he has had 18 months and I don’t think at this moment in time you can see those patterns developing.’


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