The Dutch coach became the first United manager since John Chapman in 1921 to lose his first two matches in charge of the club, with the side sitting bottom of the Premier League table for the first time in 30 years after a 4-0 mauling at the hands of Brentford.
United gave an abject display in west London, conceding four times in the first 35 minutes, and Ten Hag was livid with his players afterwards – and even cancelled their scheduled day off.
BeIN Sports anchor Keys, who was sacked by Sky Sports over a decade ago after making sexist comments, believes United’s hierarchy are already questioning the decision to appoint Ten Hag and he could be sacked before the end of next month.
‘This time a week ago we were talking about Erik ten Hag and the task that confronted him at Manchester United. The opening day didn’t go very well, yesterday was even worse,’ said Keys.
‘Now I’ve got a theory. Now maybe at Manchester United, having watched him work and his team play twice, they’re thinking to themselves: “We have made a cataclysmic error, this man is not for us”.
‘That might explain the fact that they’re not spending money. Come September and our first international break, what are the chances – a little bit like Crystal Palace did with [Frank] de Boer – they pull the plug and Pochettino is in charge by the time we come back.’
In addition to bringing in Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen, United spent £56.7million on Lisandro Martinez at Ten Hag’s request while they have agreed a £73m fee with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong – though prising the midfielder away from Camp Nou is proving difficult.
Studio guest Nigel de Jong had little time for Keys’ theory and feels United’s malaise in recent years is more to do with the club’s ownership and leadership, as well as the players on the pitch, than the many managers who have been appointed and sacked.
‘That is really far-reached, if I’m really honest with you,’ responded the former Netherlands midfielder. ‘First of all, I don’t think Ten Hag is all to blame for [what’s happened] because obviously it’s also the players that need to perform on the pitch and we’ve seen they’ve been shocking the last two games.
‘And they’ve been a shadow of themselves for the last two years, under different managers. The board also has to take a lot of responsibility in the mess that is Manchester United at this stage.’
When it was suggested that United would give the new man time to fix things, Keys continued with his theory, saying: ‘[It needs to be] the right man. What he should have done yesterday is come out with his shoulders back, his chest out.
‘He should have done what big Ron [Atkinson] or Tommy Doc [Docherty] would have done as the manager. Manchester United is special, you’ve got to have stardust and he just looks like a frightened rabbit.’
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