'Underperforming' Man Utd 'one of worst-coached teams in league'

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag watched his Man Utd fall to their heaviest defeat of the season [Getty Images]

Just when you think things can't get any worse for Manchester United, they do.

Crystal Palace’s 4-0 demolition of United on Monday has left Erik ten Hag’s men in real danger of missing out on a European place for next season as unwanted records continue to tumble.

The loss leaves them eighth in the Premier League and out of the European places – although a victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup final would guarantee a Europa League spot.

And, despite having 10 first-team players out injured, Ten Hag was not pulling any punches.

"It is clear and it is obvious," he said. "This is underperforming.

"We didn't act how we want to do it and it's by far not good enough."

How bad is it?

  • This is the most defeats United have suffered in a Premier League season (13)

  • United have never finished below seventh in Premier League - they are currently eighth

  • Since the start of last season, only Nottingham Forest (five) have lost more Premier League away games by a four-goal margin or higher than United (three)

  • The Selhurst Park thrashing was United’s heaviest defeat of the season

  • United have conceded 81 goals in all competitions this season, their most in a campaign since 1976-77 (also 81)

  • They have not finished a season on a minus goal difference since the 1989-90 Division One season. They are currently on -3

  • United’s expected goals on Monday was 0.35 – their second worst of the season

'One of the worst-coached teams in Premier League'

Ten Hag’s future as United manager has been up for debate for months – despite the Dutchman having a year left on his contract.

They have taken 10 points from the past 11 Premier League games and conceded late goals against Fulham, Brentford, Chelsea, Liverpool and Burnley in that run, costing them 10 points.

Ten Hag says he is battling against an injury crisis, the like of which he has never known throughout his managerial career. The combination of Jonny Evans, 36, and Casemiro, 32, was the 14th different centre-back partnership this season.

But pressure is growing on new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe to clarify Ten Hag's situation.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has little sympathy.

He said: "This is one of the most poorly coached teams in the Premier League, that is a fact. Ten Hag needs performances, he needs a belief.

"You have to make us believe there is something there. I would expect Man Utd’s under-23 team not to lose 4-0 like that. I have been coached by some of the top coaches and a lot of what I see here is just wrong."

Everton’s former United defender Ashley Young, added: "If they put on displays like tonight, they will miss out on Europe.

"If they aren't willing to at least run about, they will be in trouble. It has been an up-and-down season, but tonight too many players were not at the right level. Palace made it look like men against boys.

"I think it is as bad as it gets."

'A deserved defeat'

United’s players were given a rousing ovation at the end of the match by a defiant away following, but it certainly wasn't for the level of their performance.

"As Man United we should perform better," Ten Hag said to BBC Match of the Day. "The players who were available should do better. It's a deserved defeat. The performance wasn't what we expected.

"We can't focus on just one player [Casemiro]. We have to focus on the team performance. This was not right. We have to put it right on Sunday. We have to learn from this game and improve.

"You have to stick together. You have to take responsibility. The fans gave us such huge and tremendous support."

They host Arsenal next in the Premier League on Sunday, with speculation growing around Ten Hag's future. Asked by Sky Sports if he was the right person to lead United next season, the Dutchman replied: "Absolutely.

"I will keep fighting and I prepared the team in the best way I could do and it was not good enough, by far not good enough.

"I have to take the responsibility for that, but I will find energy and I will prepare them for Sunday's game.

"All season, we have huge problems and by now, this is the fourth defeat in this calendar year, so that's not a lot and every time, we had huge problems and many times, we sort it out. Today, we didn't."

'The football has left Casemiro'

An injury crisis left United with a makeshift back four and it was a night stand-in centre back Casemiro will want to forget.

The former Real Madrid midfielder was run ragged as Palace’s impressive duo Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise enjoyed a memorable evening.

One damning stat doing the rounds after full-time was that the Brazilian was dribbled past eight times in the game - the most for any player in a Premier League game this season.

The 32-year-old impressed in his first season at Old Trafford, but has struggled for form this season.

Carragher, said: “I think Casemiro should know tonight that he should only have another three games left at the top level. The next two league games and the cup final, then he should be thinking, I need to go to the MLS or Saudi.

"This has to stop because we are watching one of the greats of the modern time. I always remember the saying 'leave the football before the football leaves you'. The football has left him. At this top level, he needs to call it a day at this level and move.

"The level of that player, he should not be putting himself through this. He is too good of a player to be putting in a performance like that being laughed at by Crystal Palace. He needs to call it a day."