In an exclusive column for talkSPORT.com, Mark Goldbridge explains why he’s still backing Erik ten Hag despite Manchester United’s nightmare start to the season and outlines why it was a mistake to get rid of David de Gea.
Erik ten Hag appears to be safe at Manchester United for now and I’m not surprised by that at all. Any talk of wanting him out is wrong because there are bigger issues at the club right now.
United fans are not going after the manager and people outside of our supporters might not understand that. I think the job’s too big for any manager right now. If you put Carlo Ancelotti, Diego Simeone, Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp in there, then they’d sink because it’s such a mess.
If you go after the manager, like we did with Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, then who do you get in?
What United needs is a very big overhaul of the team from top to bottom. And then if a new owner comes in and says, I don’t like the vision of Ten Hag and sacks him, I think the fans would go, all right, okay, it’s a new start.
But it just cannot happen under the Glazer regime because we’ve been there before. The recruitment’s poor, the sales are poor, the club’s in debt, and the Glazers treat the club like a franchise. That’s the huge problem that needs fixing.
Erik ten Hag got things wrong against Galatasaray
I want Ten Hag to succeed at Manchester United, but he did get things wrong in that defeat to Galatasaray in the Champions League with how he set the team up
The balance of the team, I thought, was really bad. Harry Maguire or Jonny Evans aren’t the long-term solution, but you could have played one of those and shifted Victor Lindelof to right-back, Diogo Dalot to left-back, then Sofyan Amrabat in midfield, and straight away the team’s just more balanced.
Amrabat has been brought in and I think he’ll be a very good midfielder, but at left-back, he cost us two goals.
Mason Mount I thought did quite well, but again I’m confused why we spent £55million on a player that really cannot play with Bruno Fernandes because they both need to play centrally.
You’ve got Bruno and Marcus Rashford not playing particularly well at the moment either and Casemiro obviously got sent off. Man Utd have got a huge amount of problems at the moment.
On the positive side, though, I was really impressed with Rasmus Hojlund. I’m really excited about this player and he could have had a hat-trick.
I think if you put Rasmus into a Liverpool team or an Arsenal team or a Man City side where he’s getting genuine regular service, he’s going to score a lot of goals and that’s going to be the challenge for Manchester United.
We should not have replaced David de Gea with Andre Onana
I said back in spring that I wouldn’t have replaced David de Gea and it’s not because I don’t like Onana. I think he’s a good goalkeeper.
I said on talkSPORT in the summer that he comes in as the second best goalkeeper in the league for me and I’ll own that because it looks absolutely ridiculous now. But that’s the goalkeeper I thought we were getting and I think that’s the goalkeeper that I knew and many other people knew from his days at Ajax and Inter.
At the moment, I actually think a Norwich goalkeeper would do a better job. His distribution is poor and he doesn’t look like he can save a shot.
I’ve seen so many good goalkeepers that I’ve thought ‘oh he’d be a good signing’ and they come into the club and they struggle. That’s what has happened with Onana. I think the enormity of the job doesn’t get respected.
There’s something about being the Man United goalkeeper. I remember speaking to Ben Foster about this and he said there’s something about putting that shirt on that just makes everything you’ve done in your career pale into significance.
Replacing a goalkeeper at Man United should only happen when they retire, not when they’re spending £50 million to replace someone in De Gea that was doing a good job. I just felt it was a year or two early.
Marcus Rashford needs to start delivering
Marcus Rashford is definitely under pressure. He’s on a huge amount of money from that new contract we have just given to him.
That has made him the star of our team. He is our Kylian Mbappe, our Buyako Saka, our Kevin De Bruyne. That’s what Marcus Rashford is supposed to be for us.
You can’t hide away from that responsibility and say it’s not fair because that’s the contract you’ve been given. That’s the status you want. That’s who you are. He has to deliver and he is not delivering at the moment. So scrutiny and pressure comes with the territory and you don’t get the big bucks if you can’t deal with the pressure.
I’m a big fan of Marcus Rashford and I just think at the moment, his indecision, his consistency is the problem.