Inside Ineos’ review: Nine factors that helped Erik ten Hag hold onto his position as Man Utd boss

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The end-of-season review concluded that Ten Hag is the man to lead Manchester United into the 2024/25 campaign.

Seventeen days after the FA Cup final, on Tuesday night clarity finally emerged from Ineos’ end-of-season review: Erik ten Hag will remain as Manchester United manager.

In many ways this was the opposite of white smoke emerging, but after all the uncertainty and rumours Ten Hag now has a position from which he can chart the next chapter of his United premiership. 

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Under Inoes, things will be different. The Dutchman will be seen as a head coach rather than a manager, fitting into a fluid system alongside Sir Dave Brailsford, Jean-Claude Blanc, Jason Wilcox, plus Omar Berrada and Dan Ashworth when they finally start their respective roles at Old Trafford.

And there’s plenty of work to do, not least in the transfer market, an area Ten Hag has wielded too much control over since his arrival in 2022. The signings of Casemiro and Antony have particularly come under scrutiny, while the purchases of Andre Onana, Mason Mount and Ramsus Hojlund last summer have had mixed fortunes.

However, the latter trio have been viewed positively by the Ineos regime, an example they feel that Ten Hag is planning for the long term. With additional time to bed in next season, their transfers, in the eyes of decision makers at Old Trafford, could come to fruition.

Indeed, Ten Hag’s penchant for developing youth talents such as Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho were further factors considered in Ineos’ review. That the Dutchman has already developed two teenagers - with undoubted room for improvement - into Premier League stars is valued highly.

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The achievements of winning two trophies in two years, particularly the FA Cup final success over Manchester City, was also seen as a crucial point, ManchesterWorld understands, certainly following the disappointing Premier League finish this season.

But even in that there were mitigating factors considered by Ineos, such as the league-high number of injuries and the difficult circumstances under which Ten Hag has had to operate in. There’s a feeling that the ex-Ajax manager deserves the chance to show what he’s capable of with a new sporting structure around him.

That he conducted himself with dignity and professionalism, in addition to his dedication to the role, also weighed heavily in Ten Hag’s favour. Yet, whether the United manager truly feels he has the backing of his bosses is unclear, certainly after the club’s flirtatious glances towards potential replacements.

United’s stance is clear that the end-of-season review was never going to be rushed, with too many ‘knee-jerk’ reactions in football, as one source put it.

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Ineos may previously have had a few glances under the bonnet, but this was the first MOT and service - a process that was always set to be thorough - and two weeks is not an unreasonable length of time, in the eyes of the club.

Regardless of what’s gone before, for Ineos it’s now about building bridges, constructing plans and creating a ‘best-in-class’ environment for the team to operate. For Ten Hag, this should, in theory, be a simpler job, one stripped back and less chaotic.

It’s now a case of implementing a clear pattern of play, extracting the best from his players and focusing purely on winning football matches. That may not be as simple as it seems in the world’s most competitive league.

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