• July 25, 2024

Erik ten Hag snubs Man Utd after Chelsea defeat, revealing boss’ boiling point

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Erik ten Hag’s actions after the full-time whistle confirmed Manchester United’s collapse against Chelsea on Thursday night were those of an individual under serious pressure. United were on course for an uplifting victory before catastrophe struck in the dying embers of stoppage time.

Ten Hag was audibly unhappy after Robert Jones informed the fourth official to raise eight minutes of additional time on his electronic board. United led 3-2 through Alejandro Garnacho’s brace on either side of Bruno Fernandes’ equaliser, and they controlled the ball well as the clock ticked down.

But then Ten Hag’s potential sliding doors moment arrived in a finale that could be looked back on as the period his short-lived era died. Cole Palmer scored his second penalty of the game in the 100th minute before being left unmarked from a Chelsea corner to complete his hat-trick moments later.

United are 11 points behind fourth-place Aston Villa and trail Tottenham Hotspur in fifth by nine. Every manager post-Sir Alex Ferguson has been dismissed when Champions League football became out of reach.

Ten Hag was clearly feeling the heat after the final whistle, reportedly rushing down the Stamford Bridge tunnel to escape the spotlight. The 54-year-old was claimed to have opted against shaking Mauricio Pochettino’s hand while the Chelsea boss was overcome with emotions in the dugout.

His reaction indicated his disbelief at how the match unfolded while Pochettino, who he beat to the United managerial post, enjoyed his best day at the Blues yet. United’s inability to hold onto a lead is nothing new, and that flaw in their mentality has been a primary contributor to a disastrous season.

Just last Saturday, also in west London, the Red Devils failed to maintain a 1-0 smash-and-grab lead against Brentford. Kristoffer Ajer immediately cancelled out Mason Mount’s 96th-minute goal.

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