Erik ten Hag bemoans Manchester United’s ‘huge’ bad luck amid struggles

<span>Erik ten Hag believes bad luck has been a factor behind <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Manchester United;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Manchester United</a>’s lack of progress.</span><span>Photograph: Adam Davy/PA</span>

Erik ten Hag claims Manchester United have suffered huge bad luck but accepts that, like a government minister, he is held responsible for how his team perform.

After last season’s Carabao Cup triumph and third-place finish, Ten Hag has had to contend with myriad problems. These include uncertainty regarding Mason Greenwood’s future, Jadon Sancho’s refusal to play, Antony’s off-field issue, serial injuries and the club’s state of flux owing to Sir Jim Ratcliffe becoming a part-owner at Christmas, then conducting a structural overhaul.

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Ten Hag likened himself to a senior politician when asked whether, in private, he had sworn at all this. “The thing is you have to be realistic,” he said. “As a manager it’s like a minister, yeah? You don’t have anything in your hands but at the end of the day you have to accept that. You are responsible for everything. And I take that.

“It’s huge [the bad luck]. A lot went against us this season. You see all the penalties we conceded [in the] last weeks [against Chelsea and Liverpool] could also have been going in another way. You think over the course of a season sometimes you will get one, sometimes you will concede one, but this season it feels like we only concede.”

Ratcliffe is intent on appointing Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth as sporting director and Southampton’s Jason Wilcox as technical director. Ten Hag was asked whether time in the summer market may be wasted if they are not in before the start and suggest different targets when appointed.

“If you have options but they come with better options we are open,” he said. “But we have a way we want to play, so we know our profiles. So it has to match the profiles we want.”

Scott McTominay faces a late fitness test before Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth.