Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is under greater pressure than ever after the Red Devils slipped to a 4-3 UEFA Champions League Group A loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday (you can catch all the Champions League action live on Paramount+). The Dutchman has now overseen four defeats from the last five games across all competitions and a slow European start coupled with a difficult Premier League opening means he is at risk.
Ten Hag, who spoke with CBS Sports after the match, was extremely frustrated after the defeat in Germany because the final score flattered Bayern who were second best for much of the first half until Andre Onana's error gifted the opener. Such a self-inflicted concession was bound to encourage the Germans which is exactly what it did to smash what had actually been a solid game plan from Ten Hag until then.
"If you score three goals, here in Munich, and you still don't take a point, you have to look in the mirror, because ... You shoot yourself in the feet," he said after the game.
"We have to be more determined to win big games.
"We give goals away because we don't take responsibility."
Serge Gnabry stretched the lead for Bayern minutes after Onana's howler, but Rasmus Hojlund briefly moved United to within a goal early in the second half. However, once again, the Red Devils were undone by an unfortunate error with Christian Eriksen this time guilty as his handball gave away a penalty which Harry Kane converted.
Casemiro did get another goal back which was not undeserved based on the performance produced by the visiting side but United threw it away almost immediately. Mathys Tel was able to convert at the second time of asking to once again reestablish the home advantage in similar circumstances to Kane's penalty just minutes after Hojlund had scored.
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Casemiro was even able to head in from a Bruno Fernandes free kick to tease a potential draw once more but there was no time left after the restart. It was spirited from the Premier League outfit but nowhere near enough based on the start to this campaign so far which has fallen short of expectations in the space of just a few weeks.
Ten Hag has now seen his side go down to Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Brighton and Hove Albion as well as Bayern and two extremely different incidents away from the field with Antony and Jadon Sancho are not helping. Although this one at Allianz Arena will feel unjust given how United fared in the first half, it does not change the fact that the pressure is mounting at Old Trafford.
A run of four home games including two against Crystal Palace after this weekend's Burnley clash should bring a turnaround but the Bayern loss will have made Ten Hag's hole a little deeper. The margin for error after this is minimal given how quickly the season is crumbling for the Red Devils in recent weeks with no easy game in their current form.
Galatasaray next up in the Champions League becomes a must-win clash as the Turkish giants avoided defeat late on against Copenhagen to send United bottom of Group A. Before then, Ten Hag needs his players to arrest their unconvincing Premier League form and push on in the EFL Cup to be ready for their next European outing.
Should that not happen, Ten Hag will be under greater pressure than ever if not gone already given the ground being lost domestically already. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given extended stays of execution in the past but arguably had his playing past to thank for that which the Dutch tactician does not possess.
It is not all doom and gloom for Ten Hag as his players are clearly still putting in the effort and trying to execute his game plans, but there is no legislating for Onana making such a basic error while Eriksen was just unlucky. Things can still turn around but they need to as soon as possible before this spirals further out of Ten Hag's control.