Erik ten Hag Faces Mental Fragility Challenges Amid Manchester United’s Struggles
Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, is encountering a unique challenge as he navigates his team through a tumultuous period.
The mental state of his squad, marked by vulnerability, is preventing him from taking an excessively hardline approach during their recent struggles.
This season has been a trying one for Ten Hag’s side, both in domestic and European competitions. Their return of nine points from seven league games marks their poorest start in over three decades.
Additionally, a defeat to Galatasaray in their recent Champions League match has left them without a single point from their first two group stage encounters.
The pressure is escalating as they prepare to face Brentford, a team that has also faced its share of difficulties this season, with only one league victory to their name.
However, reports indicate that the manager has faced difficulties in handling his beleaguered squad.
According to sources at ESPN, the players’ fragile mental state has compelled Ten Hag to adopt a more cautious approach. The report also suggests that players’ body language during matches has been a noticeable issue.
Efforts to instill a mindset of maintaining positive body language, even when facing adversity in games, have not yielded the desired results.
Despite guiding his team to a top-four finish last season, a defeat in the upcoming match against Brentford could see his side languishing in the lower half of the table.
Since their victory over Nottingham Forest on August 26, Manchester United has suffered losses in every game where they conceded the first goal.
This disheartening streak includes defeats in their last two home matches, with Crystal Palace securing a 1-0 win at Old Trafford and Galatasaray emerging victorious with a 3-2 scoreline midweek.
Notable figures, such as former United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have expressed doubts about Ten Hag’s future following the Galatasaray defeat.
Despite leading twice through Rasmus Hojlund, United succumbed to goals from Wilfried Zaha, Kerem Akturoglu, and Mauro Icardi, handing the visiting team all three points.
Ibrahimovic remarked, “Coming from Ajax to United as he did is a big difference — I have been in both clubs. You have a different kind of discipline. Ajax is a talented club. They have the best talents in the club.
They don’t have big stars. What is the experience of this coach? Young talents, he comes to United, it is a different mentality. The players there are supposed to be big stars. I don’t think you give the same treatment.”
As United faces their next opponent, Brentford, memories of a humiliating 4-0 defeat last season still linger.
Nonetheless, United has claimed victory in their other three Premier League encounters with Brentford, including a 1-0 win in April.