Man Utd to finish eighth and Erik ten Hag sacked? More misery on the way for Red Devils


Manchester United's outlook for the season ahead became bleaker on Tuesday night, when they were dumped out of Europe thanks to a defeat against Bayern Munich which left them rock-bottom of Group A. With a strong Premier League finish and an FA Cup left to fight for, not to mention a future to secure for under-pressure manager Erik ten Hag, Express Sport writers give their view on what's to come for the Red Devils...

Charlie Gordon

With Newcastle and Brighton yet to hit top gear in the Premier League, a misfiring United could conceivably sink as low as eighth and miss out on all forms of European qualification for next season. Negative goal difference will be of particular concern to the Red Devils, who have found the back of the net only 18 times in the league, ranking them 15th for that particular metric.

Ten Hag is sure to place huge importance on the FA Cup to provide supporters with a pick-me-up and boost his chances of staying in a job. United can beat anyone and lose to anyone on any particular day, depending on which version of the side turns up, but that could stand them in good stead for a deep run in a knockout competition if things fall into place.

And as for Ten Hag himself, United should allow him every chance to succeed and I expect him to be given the rest of the season to put things right. For all of their inconsistency, the Red Devils are only three points off Tottenham in the league, who are led by a hugely-celebrated new manager in Ange Postecoglou. But more instances of rubbing players up the wrong way, or abject performances like the one at St James' Park earlier this month, could fast track his sacking.

Archie Griggs

Things could still get even worse for United, who are heading into this weekend's clash with Liverpool desperately low on confidence after their early Champions League exit. It has certainly been a torrid campaign for Ten Hag, with the club seemingly going nowhere fast under the Dutchman's leadership.

The Red Devils still lack any sort of clear identity and the blame for that must lay with Ten Hag in spite of the other factors contributing to their current woes. Many of the players he has signed in the transfer market are simply not good enough to play for United and it would not be a surprise to see him pay with his job before the season draws to a close.

United will almost certainly finish outside the Premier League's top four if they continue treading water and losing games they would not have batted an eyelid at in the past. Newcastle and Brighton will fancy their chances of overtaking United in the table based on current form, which could mean a lowly eighth-placed finish to mark their worst league campaign in over 30 years.

Sam Smith

It is difficult to see United finishing any higher than sixth in the Premier League. Even that might be an achievement with several clubs outside the recognised Big Six all performing above expectations.

Last season, Ten Hag benefitted from the woeful form of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham to qualify for the Champions League. The Dutchman will have no such luck this term, even with the Blues continuing to struggle.

United should move on Ten Hag, whose autocratic approach has failed to unite a clearly divided dressing room. The Red Devils’ only chance of a semblance of success this season comes in the FA Cup, but that will depend on them receiving another comfortable draw.

Jordan Seward

Ten Hag is staring down the barrel and he knows it. Describing a woeful performance as 'good', battling a new dressing room leak every week and being offered sympathies from rival bosses; they are the tell-tale signs of a man facing the chop.

It's hard to see Ten Hag surviving much longer although the Glazers delaying Sir Jim Ratcliffe's 25 per cent buy-in may give him a stay of execution. At this point, a successful season for United still looks like a top-four finish and a cup run but there are at least five better teams than them in the Prem.

They need to invest in January to stand any chance of having a crack at the top four but given their financial position, it's unlikely any significant deals will be done. Sixth is realistically the best they can hope for, anything less and the board will almost certainly be forced to rip up their long-term plan and take action.

George Glinski

Manchester United's inconsistency concerns me so it's hard to give a concrete pick but if I had to guess I'd probably say fifth behind Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham.

The Red Devils will keep hold of Erik ten Hag providing he achieves at least that. United are in a state of flux right now so they will avoid sacking their manager unless they absolutely have to.

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