Sports

May 7, 2024

Crystal Palace thrash Man Utd 4-0 to leave Ten Hag’s future in doubt

Crystal Palace thrash Man Utd 4-0 to leave Ten Hag's future in doubt

Manchester United are at risk of failing to qualify for Europe next season after a dismal 4-0 thrashing at Crystal Palace left the Red Devils eighth in the Premier League.

Michael Olise scored twice, either side of goals from the in-form Jean-Philippe Mateta and Tyrick Mitchell, as the Eagles’ resurgence since the appointment of Oliver Glasner as manager continues.

The time for a change of boss at Old Trafford could be coming soon as Erik ten Hag fails to arrest a slide in his second season in charge.

“I will keep fighting and I prepared the team in the best way I could do. It was not good enough, by far not good enough, so I have to take the responsibility for that,” said Ten Hag.

United have only been absent from European competition once since the 1989-90 season.

That came after finishing seventh in David Moyes’ sole campaign 10 years ago and the Scot was sacked with four games of the season to go.

United have never come lower than seventh in the Premier League era but are staring that possibility in the face with title-chasing Arsenal to come at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Ten Hag has routinely cited injury problems as mitigation for his side’s struggles.

The Dutchman was forced to cobble together a makeshift backline as Casemiro deputised out of position at centre-back, alongside 36-year-old Jonny Evans.

– Lack of fight –

Captain Bruno Fernandes was also absent as his proud record of never missing a club game in his career due to injury came to an end.

“All season, we have huge (injury) problems,” added Ten Hag. “This is the fourth defeat in 2024, so that’s not a lot and every time we had huge problems. Many times, we sort it out, today, we didn’t.”

But there was little excuse for the lack of fight or quality on show from a United side, whose sole Premier League win in their last seven games came against relegated Sheffield United.

Palace are unbeaten in their last five as former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Glasner’s project takes shape.

“First half we didn’t play as well as we could but we were very efficient,” said Glasner.

“At half-time we made adaptions and second half was much better. Much better control of the game, created more chances and scored nice goals.”

The south London club will have to ward off interest in Olise and Eberechi Eze if they are to kick on to even better things under the Austrian next season.

Olise has attracted interest from United, Manchester City and Chelsea and showed why as he eased through the middle of the visitors’ defence before firing low past Andre Onana.

United failed to muster even a single shot on target in the first half but were unfortunate not to level against the run of play.

Casemiro’s looping header dropped into the net after Rasmus Hojlund clashed with Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson and was harshly penalised for a push.

But a two-goal half-time lead was the least Palace’s superiority deserved.

Mateta has been a man transformed under Glasner and hammered home his ninth goal in 11 games after skipping past the leaden-footed Evans with ease.

There was no response from United after the break on a night which could be the final straw for the club’s new leadership group when deciding Ten Hag’s future.

Mitchell netted a rare goal from close range as United were cut open from a set-piece.

Onana was then caught out by the power of Olise’s strike that flew past the Cameroonian.

The margin of the defeat took United’s goal difference to -3 which tells the tale of a sorry season for the 20-time English champions.

The FA Cup final against Manchester City offers Ten Hag one last shot at redemption, should he survive in charge until on May 25.

However, based on this evidence, United fans will fear double-chasing City could run riot at Wembley to inflict the ultimate humiliation.