Erik ten Hag’s problems are becoming worse as the Man Utd players who didn’t travel abroad for international duty are back at Carrington today.
After another turbulent week for Manchester United, Erik ten Hag returns to Carrington on Monday, and the Dutchman has a ton of issues to sort out.
With Jadon Sancho’s rebellion last weekend and the abuse claims against Antony in Brazil keeping the club in the news, Ten Hag’s problems have only gotten worse over the break.
Despite only being a month old, United’s season already appears to be heading in a disastrous direction as both off-field issues and on-field issues continue to worsen. This season has seen two victories and two losses, and the match this weekend against Brighton appears to be dangerous.
This week, Ten Hag must correct his team’s trajectory while also calming a group that is being adversely affected by news stories off the field.
Ten Hag may want to consider these five things before the Old Trafford game on Saturday.
On Monday, Sancho and Ten Hag will meet for the first time since their disagreement became public just over a week ago, raising the stakes and leaving an unmistakable scent of tension in the air.
Ten Hag insisted on sticking to his original line of reasoning for Sancho’s absence against Arsenal—that he hadn’t been training well enough—but instead of earning the winger’s support, it sparked an angry backlash on social media.
It’s difficult to see a road back for the 23-year-old given Ten Hag’s commitment to team togetherness and discipline, but this week may be enlightening. Can they establish some common ground during their training and one-on-one conversation? A clean break is not conceivable right now because there will not be another transfer window for three months.
Another problem is the choice to grant Antony a leave of absence. Sancho would be foolish to assume that will enter Ten Hag’s consideration, but it truly should be an opportunity for the £73 million winger to apologize, put in the work, and receive a chance to play on the right wing.
Antony will not be returning to Carrington with United’s non-internationals today. After allegations of abuse against him caused him to be removed from the Brazil squad a week ago, United announced on Sunday that he will also not be returning to his club.
Rather of being suspended, he is on leave and continues to receive his full salary. According to United, he will be able to respond to the accusations, which have grown more serious over the past week. Three women have come forward to accuse Antony of sexual assault.
It’s significant to stress that Antony has not been detained or charged and refutes each and every one of these allegations. However, putting a time limit on his return is obviously untenable given the lack of confidence around what happens next.
Ten Hag will need to discuss the situation with his team once they have reassembled.
Victor Lindelof appears to be ready after the international break after playing 90 minutes for Sweden on Saturday, although Lisandro Martinez didn’t play in Argentina’s opening match of the break despite traveling with them.
Before that game, Lionel Scaloni acknowledged that the center-back was still “uncomfortable” with the foot issue that forced him off against Arsenal. If he participates in Tuesday’s match against Bolivia, United will keep a careful eye on it.
Ten Hag will be keeping an eye out for developments about Sofyan Amrabat, who joined up with his Moroccan teammates before pulling out with what is thought to be a new injury. In the midfield, Kobbie Mainoo and Mason Mount have already been injured.
This season, injuries have undoubtedly increased, and the medical staff is undoubtedly investigating the causes. Before taking into account the health of Martinez and Amrabat, United now has at least seven players out injured, including Tom Heaton, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Raphael Varane, Mainoo, Mount, and Amad.
Ten Hag must put together a team for the match against Brighton despite the current upheaval at United, and he likely has two crucial decisions to make before the match.
One is at left-back, where Diogo Dalot improved greatly against Arsenal after a shaky showing against Nottingham Forest. However, loanee Sergio Reguilon, a natural left-back, must be competing for playing time after signing from Tottenham.
The question then becomes whether Rasmus Hojlund is healthy enough to start after impressing as a substitute at the Emirates and accruing extra playing time over the break. The 20-year-old posed a considerably greater threat than Anthony Martial and ought to be added to the starting lineup as soon as feasible. Ten Hag will be hoping he’s free this weekend.
He needs a result this weekend most of all. Because of what has been happening off the field, United’s shaky start has felt even worse.
It’s certainly too early to draw any conclusions, but Ten Hag’s team has been way too vulnerable thus far this year, giving the opponent far too many opportunities. You cannot afford to do that when playing Brighton, who have the most goals in the Premier League (12) and the most shots (82 in four game
Last season, United dealt effectively with the Seagulls’ attacking threat, but so far this year, they haven’t found the perfect balance in their games, and Brighton are a dangerous opponent to give too much room to.