Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is under pressure after two straight home defeats added to an already dismal start to the season.
Manchester United fans feel like Erik ten Hag is on a slippery slope to the sack. The signs are there; the players look unsettled, results are bad, and they have stopped playing as a team. Their confidence looks shot. Ten Hag insists he can turn it around, but we need to see it to believe it.
England cricketer Sam Billings, a Manchester United supporter, summed up the club’s predicament with a post on X.com: “Sacking ETH is not the answer…. I don’t know what the answer is.”
And that’s the major emerging problem. There is no clear cut candidate to take over.
Where Erik ten Hag’s rivals are now
Erik ten Hag was hired by Manchester United in 2022 after a lengthy search, while Ralf Rangnick filled in as interim manager.
The Dutchman won out part of a four-man shortlist, The Mirror reported, and of his three rivals, only one is still available.
Mauricio Pochettino: Mauricio Pochettino was Erik ten Hag’s main rival for the job. Despite the insistence it was a four-man race, it really felt like a two-way battle instead.
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Former Tottenham boss Pochettino spent last season out of work after being dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain, before agreeing to take the Chelsea job at the end of the season.
Pochettino has had a fairly uninspired start at Chelsea, but like United, that task was a real mess. It’s too early to judge him yet.
Luis Enrique: Former Barcelona and Roma manager Luis Enrique was only willing to entertain offers after the 2022 World Cup. This made him less of an appealing candidate for Manchester United, as the club would have had to wait even longer to appoint him.
Enrique took over as manager of Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. As Pochettino will verify, that job is a very difficult one, where winning titles does not guarantee job security. Currently PSG rank second.
Julen Lopetegui: Julen Lopetegui was the fourth man on the list. Like with Enrique, it never really felt like he was a serious contender. Instead it appeared to use like United just expanded their shortlist from two to four to show they were doing proper due diligence.
Lopetegui is the only one of the three currently without a job. He spent several months last season managing Wolves, losing 1-0 and 2-0 to Manchester United.
He resigned from Wolves in the summer amid a lack of investment. Lopetegui did a solid job there considering his resources, but it also did little to strengthen any case he had to be a Manchester United consideration in 2023.