It is no longer news that Dutch tactician, Erik Ten Hag has lost his first Premier League game in charge of Manchester United. In fact, after a summer full of transfer speculations and pre-season matches, it took EPL mid-table team, Brighton and Hove Albion, just 30 minutes to take the lead in front of an astonished Old Trafford crowd on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The Red Devils would go on to lose the game by 2 goals to 1, thanks to goals from a player fast turning into UNITED’s tormentor-in-chief, Paschal Gross.
While the shame of becoming the first ever Manchester United Manager to lose a home game to the Sea Gulls would be a bitter pill to swallow, Ten Hag, however, has a much bigger problem in his dressing room; a problem so big that it could cost him his job. That problem is Portuguese superstar, Christiano Ronaldo.
Though Ten Hag has made it clear that the club will not listen to offers for its star striker should they come, this decision, however, could come back to haunt the Dutchman in the long run.
It is common knowledge that Ronaldo has not hidden his desire to leave the club in this current window, even if it means accepting a 30% wage cut from any club willing to take him in. As it turns out, the 5-time UCL winner feels playing in the Uefa Europa League is beneath his standards and rightly so.
This means that every time Christiano takes to the pitch with his teammates on a Thursday night in the UEL, especially after watching the likes of Messi, Neymar, and Benzema show their stuff on Tuesday and Wednesday nights respectively, the Portuguese will curse Ten Hag for refusing to let him go. And those who know the former Juventus forward will be quick to tell you that an unhappy Ronaldo means an unhappy dressing room. Such is the massive influence he wields.
And in football, an unhappy dressing room means the gaffer is in danger of being at the receiving end of a coup plot.
With the Iconic Number 7 being the most influential player in the dressing room at Old Trafford, Ten Hag could find himself facing a mutiny led by none other than Ronaldo himself, especially after a poor run of games both at home and in Europe.
If I were to be the Dutchman, I’d quickly let the star player have his way and leave the club. Holding unto him could turn out to be even more catastrophic.
With the transfer window slamming shut at midnight on the 31st of August, there is still time for the Dutchman to have a rethink and let the Portuguese forward leave. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine. This time around, it could save Erik Ten Hag his job at the Old Trafford dugout.