Manchester United have accidentally leaked two clues that reveal Erik ten Hag decision

It is easy to see the parallels between Erik ten Hag in 2024 and Louis van Gaal in 2016. In the run-up to the FA Cup final, there has been some terrible football, a run of underwhelming performances, and stories tying other managers to the biggest position at Old Trafford.

In the weeks preceding this season’s FA Cup final against Manchester City, Manchester United’s quiet was telling prior to Van Gaal’s dismissal.

While it would have been easy for Sir Jim Ratcliffe to publicly endorse Ten Hag and declare that the Dutchman will continue to be in control for the upcoming season, tumbleweed has occurred instead, and the silence has indicated that a change is being contemplated.

Van Gaal didn’t receive the backing of United before the FA Cup final in 2016 and reports indicating he would be sacked were rife – and were subsequently proved to be correct.

If a change hadn’t been carefully considered, it would be shocking. Ten Hag is ultimately to blame for United’s largely miserable season, as the team has drastically declined this year, finishing ninth in the Premier League and plunging out of Europe before Christmas.

Although the FA Cup final offers INEOS a chance to turn around a disappointing season, they are astute businesspeople and will not base their Ten Hag choice on a single football match.

It’s not looking good for Ten Hag, who had a great first year but has reached new, humiliating lows this term—there are months’ worth of evidence to weigh.

Although INEOS had done a good job of keeping their plan for Ten Hag a secret, it has come to light in the past few days that Kieran McKenna’s agents have been contacted.

Regarded as one of the most promising young coaches in football, McKenna led Ipswich to the Premier League in less than three years by winning consecutive promotions.

The 37-year-old was named manager of United’s Under-18 team in 2016 and was moved up to the first team coaching staff by Jose Mourinho. Before joining Ipswich, he assisted in the transition to interim manager Ralf Rangnick after being later retained by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although it is known that McKenna would be willing to accept the United position, Brighton and Chelsea, who are looking to replace their manager, are also keeping an eye on him.

It’s not ideal to hear that United is interested in McKenna just days before the FA Cup final because it will be an unwanted distraction before the biggest match of the season, but it seems that INEOS was obliged to make a move following Mauricio Pochettino’s departure from Chelsea.

Prior to the summer transfer season, United’s management team started circling around McKenna, and they were compelled to take action when Brighton and Chelsea expressed interest in him.

Prior to the summer transfer season, United’s management team started circling around McKenna, and they were compelled to take action when Brighton and Chelsea expressed interest in him.

It remains to be seen if McKenna becomes a target, but the unspoken issue is that you don’t negotiate with a different manager if you’re not thinking about firing Ten Hag.

Sadly, Ten Hag has been feeling like a dead man walking for some time now, and the fact that United is not openly endorsing him together with discussions with another manager all point to his departure.

While some supporters want Ten Hag fired, others want him to stay in his position. Whichever side they support about his future, they will all be rooting for United on Saturday in the FA Cup final.

Just like before the FA Cup final in 2016, it’s been a shame to see heavy reports linking United with another manager in the days building up to the fixture, but the industry is ruthless and it seems inevitable the white smoke will emerge from Old Trafford not long after the game.

There is a sense of regret over how Van Gaal was sacked and Ten Hag deserves a more dignified farewell if/when the curtain is brought down on his tenure.

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