Erik ten Hag: What next for Man Utd manager – transfers, revised role, is he still at risk next season?

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In football, results change narratives.

The abysmal period between 30 March and 6 May changed perceptions about Ten Hag and his team. During that time, United played eight matches, dropping a number of points from leading positions and struggling against poor teams in the relegation zone.

But worse than all this was how close United came to humiliation in the FA Cup semi-finals when they threw away a 3-0 lead in the final 20 minutes against Championship side Coventry, eventually going through on penalties after a marginal VAR call in the last minute of extra time denied the underdogs one of the competition’s most amazing victories.

United’s humbled celebrations at Wembley told their own story.

A fortnight later, United lost 4-0 at Crystal Palace.

While Ten Hag, to wider incredulity, defended the FA Cup performance, he accepted the Selhurst Park debacle was not good enough and apologised to supporters.

Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher dissected United’s apparent consistent lack of gameplan and described them as one of the “worst-coached sides I’ve ever seen”.

It was against this backdrop it began to emerge that Ineos had been speaking to prospective replacements and stories were published stating Ten Hag would be sacked no matter what the FA Cup final result.

History shows those stories were wrong.

The result qualified United for the Europa League and also increased the compensation Ten Hag was entitled to in the event of dismissal.

But it was the manner of United’s victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final that turned the dial back to the March position, as Ineos began their end-of-season review and Ten Hag headed to Ibiza on holiday.

It is impossible to know exactly what proved decisive in the outcome favouring Ten Hag, but some aspects are known.

Dedication, dignity and professionalism were three words used from within Old Trafford to sum up Ten Hag’s approach to the job.

An acknowledgement of United’s dreadful injury list was a factor, although it has been argued the manager could have predicted some of last season’s absences.

The development of teenage pair Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho was hugely important. And so, too, were United’s fans.

At Wembley and afterwards, the feeling towards Ten Hag among the fanbase has been positive, with a sense that sticking with the Dutchman was preferable to some of the alternatives being proposed.

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