The start of the Dutchman’s tenure has been blighted by a bungled summer transfer window which has seen a number of his top targets reject moves to Old Trafford.
Speculation surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s future has provided an unwelcome distraction, while a promising pre-season was quickly forgotten last Sunday when United were deservedly beaten by Brighton in their Premier League opener.
Despite being instructed to keep a lid on the enthusiasm that had accompanied his appointment, Ten Hag chose to take a different approach and deliberately talked up his team’s chances in public in an attempt, according to ESPN, to boost flagging confidence.
Ten Hag was keen to distance himself from the consistently negative soundbites offered by his predecessor, Ralf Rangnick, who insisted the squad he inherited from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer required ‘open heart surgery’ while any new incumbent would need as many as 10 signings this summer.
Ten Hag will have to settle for a more modest number, but hopes to make at least two new additions to his squad before the deadline.
A further round of talks are scheduled with Adrien Rabiot’s agent and mother over the course of the weekend, while United still hope to sign a new forward despite ending brief interest in Marko Arnautovic earlier this week.
Marcus Rashford, however, will not be allowed to leave despite his indifferent form and the interest of Paris Saint-Germain who would be prepared to pay up to £60million for the England international.
Rergadless of any new acquisitions, United legend Gary Neville feels Ten Hag has been let down by those above him and fears he has been left with a group of players not fit for purpose.
‘I would go back to Ten Hag and say I think he’s had a really impressive start, a confident start… and he’s not been supported off the pitch by an operation that can get him the players he wants,’ he said last week.
‘If you said to me two months ago that Manchester United would have Fred and McTominay in midfield and we would have Martial up front – who every Manchester United fan and coach had written off as being leaving…
‘I’d say that the manager has been given a pretty tough hand. All these clubs – Chelsea, they bring Raheem Sterling in.
‘City bring in Erling Haaland, Darwin Nunez goes to Liverpool.
‘And then you’ve got Manchester United who basically can’t get a player through the door.’
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