Erik ten Hag replacement option sends ‘pain in the a***’ message to Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Thiago Motta insists his Bologna side intend to remain a “pain in the a**” for the Italian giants as they target a shock place in the Champions League.

The Serie A outfit currently sit in fourth – above the likes of Roma, Atalanta and Lazio as they look to land an unlikely spot at Europe’s top table. Bologna have rarely bothered the top sides but, with Motta at the helm, are proving to be a shrewd outfit, losing just five times this term.

The Italian finished his career at PSG and worked with their youth ranks before stepping out on his own. He’s in his third major management role and is getting a tune out of his Bologna side – which has seen him shortlisted by Manchester United minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Motta has insisted that he intends to ensure his team remain in the hunt for the top four: “The Champions League is a normal obsession for Inter, Milan, Juventus, Napoli, Roma and Atalanta. It has never existed for us. We are, at best, the pain in the ass of the league… We have brought competition and innovation, we intend to remain a pain in the ass.”

United, unless there is a miraculous change, won’t be operating in the Champions League next term which has led to uncertainty over Erik ten Hag’s future. The Dutchman is in his second season at the helm but has struggled to improve on his debut campaign.

Motta is among a host of options being considered by Ratcliffe, who is now in charge of the club’s football operation and has begun making his influence known. Graham Potter, formerly of Chelsea and Brighton, is on their shortlist as is Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel.

Bologna know they face a battle to retain the young coach if a major club comes calling. Juventus have been heavily linked with the 41-year-old and United could be ready to rival them if they opt to replace Ten Hag in the coming months.

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