Source: Ten Hag fears he could still face Utd sack

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Ranking Man United’s potential candidates to replace Ten Hag (1:44)

Don Hutchison debates who would be the best replacement for Erik ten Hag if he leaves Man United. (1:44)

  • Rob Dawson, CorrespondentMay 27, 2024, 03:46 AM ET

Erik ten Hag believes he could still be sacked by Manchester United despite winning the FA Cup, a source told ESPN.

Ten Hag led his team to a surprise 2-1 victory over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. But the Dutchman, who began a holiday on Sunday still in the dark about his future, remains concerned that he will be axed once club chiefs hold their end-of-season review.

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A source told ESPN that the review is due to begin this week. Other reviews Ineos director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford has led in other sports have typically taken around four days to complete.

Co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Brailsford and new technical director Jason Wilcox are committed to assessing every aspect of United’s season, including Ten Hag’s performance and his future.

Club sources told ESPN a final decision on the manager has not yet been made and will not concluded until the conclusion of the review.

Sources have told ESPN that final a decision will be based on on-field performance but also on whether Ten Hag will fit into the club’s new leadership structure, including accepting a reduced role in player recruitment.

Ten Hag wants to stay and has one year left on his contract, but sources have told ESPN that informal talks have been held with representatives of Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino, Kieran McKenna and Thomas Frank as the club assess alternative options.

There is also interest in Gareth Southgate, but he remains focused on leading England at the European Championship, which begins in June.

Ten Hag was defiant in his postmatch news conference on Saturday, insisting that the team he inherited in 2022 was “a mess” and that two trophies represents a good return from his two years in charge at Old Trafford.

However, ESPN sources close to the former Ajax boss are concerned that neither Ratcliffe nor Brailsford have offered a cast-iron guarantee that he will keep his job, even in the wake of the FA Cup success.

Ratcliffe, who was at the Saturday’s final along with Brailsford, released a brief statement that evening but there was no specific mention of Ten Hag.

There are doubts among those close to Ten Hag that winning the FA Cup has significantly changed the way Ineos are thinking about the club’s future, particularly after an eighth-place finish in the Premier League.

But sources have told ESPN that victory over City has made the decision harder for Ratcliffe and Brailsford. A source has told ESPN that if Ten Hag does leave he will go with “his head held high.”

Winning the FA Cup has guaranteed United a place in the Europa League next season. Sources told ESPN that in the event of his sacking, Ten Hag is now due a higher amount of compensation than if United had missed out on Europe altogether.

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