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Erik ten Hag to continue as Manchester United manager after season review

<span>Erik ten Hag with the FA Cup after <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/man-utd/" 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 victory over <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/man-city/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Manchester City;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Manchester City</a> last month.</span><span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Observer</span>

Erik ten Hag will remain as Manchester United manager. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s season review concluded that a record of two trophies in two seasons, his development of Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho, plus the Dutchman’s professionalism and dignity meant he deserved the chance to continue. Negotiations over a new contract for the Dutchman have already begun.

The decision signals a reverse in the assessment of Ten Hag’s likely future. Ratcliffe and his advisers were previously minded to remove him, yet a number of factors ultimately persuaded them Ten Hag should remain.

Ratcliffe and his colleagues were impressed by last month’s 2-1 FA Cup final triumph over Manchester City which made it two trophies in Ten Hag’s two years in charge; the 54-year-old establishing Garnacho and Mainoo, who are 19, as first-team regulars; and the manager’s dedication. There is also recognition that André Onana and Mason Mount, who were signed last summer, are yet to fully settle.

While the review entered a third week, the club were intent on making the correct decision regarding Ten Hag and are confident they have now done so, with the hierarchy also taking as mitigation the 60-plus injuries he had to contend with.

There were also multiple off-field issues which included differing challenges concerning Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho and Antony plus the uncertainty regarding ownership after the Glazer family put the club up for potential sale in November 2022.

This only ended on Christmas Eve when Ratcliffe’s buy-in as a minority owner was announced yet while it became official in February the Ineos owner’s two highest-ranking appointments, his chief executive, Omar Berrada, and Dan Ashworth, the sporting director, are yet to start work at United as both are on gardening leave.

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United considered various alternatives as potential candidates to replace Ten Hag, including Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna, Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter, Roberto De Zerbi, Brentford’s Thomas Frank, Wolves’ Gary O’Neil and Gareth Southgate, the England manager.

Yet following the season review which, it is understood, analysed the 2023-24 campaign in which United finished in eighth, their lowest position in the Premier League, and the broader first team operation, the club and Ten Hag held constructive conversations on its outcome.

Following these, the manager will now remain in his position. With a year remaining on his current terms, discussions have now begun regarding a new deal.