Reason why MU should keep Ten Hag: Just being good at playing cups is not enough

Ten Hag's MU has had 2 scenes in 3 finals, now it's time for them to advance to the Premier League.

Erik Ten Hag brought success to MU when he led the Old Trafford team to the League Cup and FA Cup titles in two seasons. Despite finishing 8th in the Premier League this season, Ten Hag last season brought MU back to the top 4 and that will have a certain influence on the assessment of INEOS group bosses managing MU.


MU defeated Man City to win the FA Cup. Next challenge: How to play like Man City

The problem now is to turn MU from a team that can play cups well into a team that knows how to play in the national championship. This is a very important process in the formation of strong football teams, and INEOS will see if Ten Hag is capable of achieving this goal or not. Otherwise, I’m afraid they won’t let him continue working despite his recent victory.

In the history of English football, there have been many teams that have risen from cup-playing teams to national championship candidates. Liverpool is a typical example, they have been especially dominant since the time of coach Bob Paisley when the controlling style of play of “The Kop” was shaped in the second half of the 1970s and continued well until the early 1990s. .

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd went through a similar process but with more difficulty. They aimed for a playing style like Liverpool’s, but after the first unsuccessful seasons, MU began to focus on the cup front and bring about the FA Cup and C2 Cup. It was not until the return of Eric Cantona that MU’s reign of Premier League domination began."Liverpool

Liverpool were for many years under Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez a cup-playing team, a contrast to Liverpool from 1975 to 1990.

Liverpool in the years of Rafa Benitez were initially strong mainly in cup football until they began to form a uniform team and compete for the championship in the 2008/09 season. Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal won its first title (FA Cup) with a counter-attacking style, but each season after that Arteta changed to his current control style of play to aim for the Premier League crown.

Can Man Utd do that? Ten Hag has shown his ability during his years leading Ajax, so the Dutch coach’s past experience will make INEOS consider it. Besides, although MU has been more successful in the cup arena in the past two seasons, they also have the foundations to be able to play in control for long-distance races.

Ten Hag’s first job was to bring in Lisandro Martinez, and the Argentine midfielder’s ability to pass through the Man City midfielders was praised by Pep Guardiola after the FA Cup final. Below him is Andre Onana, who is good at handling his feet, Luke Shaw is also a defender who knows how to participate in escaping pressing and attacking high up, while Diogo Dalot on the right wing is increasingly improving in all aspects.


Lisandro Martinez is one of MU’s best passing defenders

The fact that Kobbie Mainoo shined in the first season with the ability to handle the ball very calmly is a very good sign for Ten Hag to upgrade MU’s playing style. The next thing is to find him an ideal partner: A player good at intercepting, or a midfielder good at creating from afar?

Casemiro is old after all, while Bruno Fernandes and Mason Mount are more attacking, Sofyan Amrabat seems a bit weak when playing in a controlled game. Choosing who to play with Mainoo in midfield will be something MU needs to determine this summer.

Although MU’s attack this season looks quite gloomy, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have bright spots. Garnacho is clearly a player with a lot of will and can be relied on, and Rasmus Hojlund plays well once his teammates pass the ball to him. How to get the strikers to actively participate in the dispute and develop the playing style is what Ten Hag is not doing (but not because he doesn’t try).


Not only ranked 8th on the Premier League rankings, MU also ranked 8th in both the number of times the ball was pulled forward (PrgC – including times when the ball was pulled 10 meters or pulled the ball into the opponent’s penalty area) and the number of development passes. ball (PrgP – successful pass forward 10 meters or more or successful pass into the opponent’s penalty area)

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool played well in cup competitions in the early years, but they also developed a controlled style of play before they began to challenge Man City, typically with the signings of Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Matip and Wijnaldum. , players cannot say that they are only suitable for cup football when their ability on the ball is the most impressive thing.

Man Utd also has such people in the squad, their job now is to further promote the process of turning MU into a well-controlled football team. In cup football, you can play tightly and wait for a counterattack or penalty shootout, but you cannot do that in national championship football. MU can succeed with that transformation, and based on Erik Ten Hag’s past, he deserves to be the person assigned responsibility for that process.

Should MU keep Ten Hag?
Should Manchester United keep coach Erik Ten Hag into the 2024/25 season?

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