Erik ten Hag could be close to giving Ineos what Manchester United really need

Erik ten Hag is on course to deliver Manchester United’s worst Premier League performance.

One statistic about Manchester United’s season should speak volumes. The Red Devils can no longer match David Moyes’ points total in 2013/14.

It has been a disastrous season for Manchester United, who are currently eighth in the Premier League. And there will be consequences for that.

One fallout, if United do not win the FA Cup final against Manchester City, would be a total failure to qualify for any form of European football in 2024/25.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on 6 May 20...
Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

If Manchester United fail to qualify for any form of European football, this will, on one level, be a blow. But it could be just what the club needs.

Think of it as one step back to take two steps forward. It will mean fewer games and may speed up elimination plans.

A reduced number of matches means a smaller squad will be required. This may boost United’s efforts to sell players and raise funds.

There would also likely be fewer injuries with players featuring once a week rather than twice.

United have a limited budget for next season and a reduced schedule will make the club’s recruitment plans look feasible.

While Manchester United are looking to finish as low as possible, Erik ten Hag looks set to pull it off on his own.

And Ineos would certainly prefer the financial benefits that come with some sort of European football.

But what he might really need is to miss out entirely, to have a complete reset and rebuild.

Not having to travel on a Thursday for European games may benefit the team in the Premier League competition in 2024/24 and lead to a quicker “bounce back” than if he is caught in the perpetual cycle the club has been in the post-Sir Alex era. It was Ferguson.

Arsenal and Chelsea have benefited

It has been proven that missing Europe for a season can benefit teams, Arsenal and Chelsea have shown this.

Mikel Arteta’s turnaround at Arsenal was helped by an eighth-place finish in 2020/21, which meant no European football in 2021/22, where they finished fifth.

Chelsea did it even more spectacularly when they finished 10th in 2015/16.

A year later, they won the Premier League, triumphing with a total of 93 points in 2016/17.

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