‘What a mess’: PL legend says INEOS’ woeful handling of key situation has left a sour taste

Alan Shearer believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe has already got off on the wrong foot as Manchester United’s co-owner due to his woeful handling of Erik ten Hag’s position. 

Last Tuesday, David Ornstein announced that Ten Hag would remain United’s manager for the foreseeable future following a lengthy end-of-season assessment carried out by INEOS.

It’s thought that the Red Devils’ dismal Premier League campaign, which saw them record a lowest-ever finish while missing out on Champions League qualification, made up key figures’ minds that the Dutchman was to leave upon the culmination of the term.

However, United’s perfectly executed game plan in last month’s FA Cup final triumph threw a spanner in the works of INEOS’ plans to sack Ten Hag. Reports suggested that ahead of the tie, he’d taken advice from technical director Jason Wilcox to play Bruno Fernandes in the false nine role before the skipper proceeded to oversee a world-class showing at Wembley.

The 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Manchester City secured a second piece of silverware in the former Ajax man’s sophomore season in the dugout and left Ratcliffe and Co with plenty to think about as he jetted off to Ibiza.

While Ten Hag grew maddened awaiting clarification on his future, INEOS met with Thomas Tuchel to discuss the prospect of him succeeding Ten Hag, having just ended his tenure at Bayern Munich. They also held face-to-face talks with Marco Silva leading up to the cup final, who enjoyed an impressive year with Fulham.

Yet, United chiefs ultimately decided to stick rather than twist. They flew to visit Ten Hag on his holidays to confirm their decision in person and immediately scheduled further talks over a contract extension.

Such a tedious saga left fans aggravated that both they and Ten Hag had been left in the dark over such a critical decision, especially given that the transfer window was fast approaching.

Read more: Bayern see advances rejected by United star after failing to meet his financial expectations

INEOS’ handling was improper, says Shearer

Shearer has echoed their frustrations, too, expressing his distaste at how INEOS conducted themselves.

“What a mess it’s been,” he told Betfair, cited by the Daily Star. “How kind of Manchester United to go to Ibiza and inform him that he’s still wanted as the manager, and then tell him that they’ve even spoken to other candidates. It’s just a bizarre situation. It’s not how things should be done in football.

“If you are going to speak to other managers then speak to them, but keep it in-house. You can’t let the public know.

“To be undermined like he has done, I know they’re now saying that he has their support and they want him to carry on, but from a personal and human point of view, it’s not the right way to treat someone. It takes a lot of his power away from him. Will the players look at him and think he’s a really strong manager and he’s in a strong position?

“Probably not because of the way they have treated him. It was meant to be all new at Old Trafford with the very best coming in. I don’t think they’ve got off to a good start.”

More Stories Erik ten Hag INEOS Marco Silva Sir Dave Brailsford Sir Jim Ratcliffe Thomas Tuchel