Ten Hag did himself no favours now under the watchful eye of Ratcliffe on Saturday evening though, with his side slipping to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest. Nicolas Dominguez opened the scoring for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in the 64th minute before Marcus Rashford equalised just moments later, capitalising on an error by Matt Turner.
Forest then reclaimed the lead in the 82nd minute through Morgan Gibbs-White to send the City Ground into a frenzy, capping off a sharp counter-attack with a curling finish past Andre Onana.
United, again, underwhelmed in their performance and pressure is mounting on the shoulders of Ten Hag as a result. The Dutchman believes that injuries are holding his side back this season, but Neville feels it is only a matter of time before Ratcliffe must make a decision on his future.
Speaking after the match, the former United captain told Sky Sports: “Ten Hag needs his players back – [Lisandro] Martinez, [Harry] Maguire, Casemiro, [Rasmus] Hojlund, Luke Shaw… and he needs to somehow finish the season strongly. But it’s been a really up-and-down season. It’s more down than up. Some of these performances are really, really poor. Well below anything that should be required at this level.
“Erik ten Hag will be under pressure, there’s no doubt about that. They’re obviously going to appoint those three roles – CEO, sporting director and head of recruitment – they’ll all come in and the rest of them will go. The coach is the one that will be their biggest deliberation, it always is in a football club, because you don’t sack a coach easily.”
Ten Hag will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways against Wigan in the FA Cup in early January, where a defeat would see his side knocked out of all cup competitions already and without a chance of mounting a title charge.
Ratcliffe is said to be a keen admirer of former Chelsea manager Graham Potter, who is keen to return to management, and the Englishman has emerged as the likeliest candidate to succeed Ten Hag in the Old Trafford dugout if a change of face is required.