Man Utd: Erik ten Hag expects to stay as manager for next season

Erik ten Hag tells Sky Sports he is “sure we’re in the right direction” despite Man Utd falling further behind in chase for Champions League qualification; watch Manchester United vs Liverpool live on Sky Sports on Sunday, kick-off 3.30pm

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says he has ‘no doubts’ that he will still be in the role next season and remains focused on the project

A defiant Erik ten Hag has insisted he has “no doubts” he will still be Manchester United’s manager next season ahead of Sunday’s headline clash with Liverpool, live on Sky Sports.

The United boss, who said a week ago that he “does not care” about speculation linking United with England coach Gareth Southgate, has reiterated in the wake of Thursday’s shattering defeat at Chelsea he still expects to remain at Old Trafford next season.

“I don’t have any doubts,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports. “I’m just focusing on my job, focusing on this process, in this project. I really love to be here, I’m enjoying it. For me it’s a challenge.”

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Sky Sports News reported at the end of March that United have not made a definitive decision over Ten Hag’s future and are planning for next season with him, including potential recruitments and summer tour plans.

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But since then United have suffered agonising setbacks in the Premier League, conceding added-on time goals at both Brentford and Chelsea in the space of a week, to fall further away from the qualifying spots for the Champions League.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United

Ahead of the Super Sunday clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool, live on Sky Sports, United are sixth, nine points behind fifth-placed Tottenham. Their goal difference for the season is minus one.

But, despite the setbacks, Ten Hag is adamant United, who were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage, are progressing.

“It will not go always in the right way, it’s not going always the results in the way we wanted but I’m sure we’re in the right direction and we will get where we want to be,” he said.

What the Sky Sports pundits have said about Ten Hag

Gary Neville, speaking on Sky in March: “Last season was really good in the sense of winning a trophy, getting into the Champions League, getting to an FA Cup final. There were a lot of good things about last season in terms of setting a foundation for Erik ten Hag.

“I would have expected this season, not to win the league as no one expected Manchester United to win the league, but I didn’t expect them to be in sixth and so far off.

“The moment of truth is now. In Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and David Moyes’ periods at the club, they had games against Man City and Liverpool in very quick succession.

“Erik ten Hag has a game against City and then two against Liverpool in the next month. He will be judged on these matches. INEOS aren’t going to wait until the end of the season to make a decision. This is a massive month for these players and the manager.”

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Gary Neville and Roy Keane debate whether or not Ten Hag is the right fit for Manchester United

Paul Merson: “Erik ten Hag always just seems to be able to keep his head above the water with a positive result in among the poor ones. The pattern over the last year has been get beat, lose again, but then get a win against a lesser team at home to keep the critics quiet. It feels like that is what it has been like during Ten Hag’s tenure at Old Trafford.

“Ten Hag could be under severe pressure this time next week if they can’t get a positive result against either Chelsea or Liverpool. On the other hand, he could be an absolute hero if he can get another result against Liverpool.”

Melissa Reddy: “United have not commented on any of the rumours given Erik ten Hag is still in post, no definitive decision has been taken over his future, and there is still the FA Cup plus securing Champions League football to play for. The club are planning for next season with Ten Hag, including with potential recruitments and for summer tour plans.

“There is great annoyance that the high point of their season – the late, galvanising 4-3 victory over Liverpool at an enraptured Old Trafford – has been so quickly followed by such speculation.

“Manchester United recognise that Ten Hag was dealt a very bad hand.

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Ten Hag says his Man Utd side need to recover from their late capitulation against Chelsea, as they prepare to take on rivals Liverpool on Sunday

“He’s been working in a dysfunctional structure that INEOS are now trying to remedy. The number of off-field issues he’s had to deal with since first walking through the door has been utterly absurd, as has been United’s injury crisis this season.

“But that said there is a lot of things that Ten Hag has to shoulder responsibility for. Some of the trends that we’ve seen: the structural deficiencies, being unable to really identify what United’s playing style is this far into his reign, that no team in Europe’s top five leagues has faced more shots against them.

“Just the state of the capitulations that we’ve seen this year, and the latest of that was losing five points from winning positions in the last five days.

“I do think that in terms of the on-pitch stuff, there is a lot of blame placed on Ten Hag.

“The players are getting away with it a little bit, but overall Manchester United realise that fixing their solutions doesn’t just mean changing the manager.”

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