The pressure on Ten Hag is mounting after United’s disappointing start to the season continued with a 3-0 defeat in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Seven losses in 14 games across all competitions have left the Red Devils eighth in the Premier League, 11 points off leaders Tottenham, and at risk of not qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages.
While many gave the Dutch manager the benefit of the doubt earlier on in the campaign, that attitude is now changing with plenty of questions being raised over his tactics, recruitment and treatment of players.
After a great debut season and yet more heavy spending on new players, it was expected that things would only get better for Ten Hag and his side but as Savage says the opposite has happened.
‘I watched the second half of the Manchester Derby and the gulf in class was quite remarkable,’ the former United youth star told Planet Sport Bet.
‘The difference in composure and difference on the ball showed that Manchester City have a plan which is masterminded superbly by a manager who is getting them to play exactly how he wants them to.
‘I went on record in saying that Erik ten Hag had done one of the best jobs in the world to get Manchester United to the top-four in the Premier League and two cup finals, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this season they have regressed.
‘The recruitment is very confusing. They let David de Gea go and brought in Andre Onana for a big fee, they needed a centre-half and brought in 35-year-old Johnny Evans, they got [Sergio] Reguilon from Spurs to cover at left back yet they play a right-footed centre-half [Victor Lindelof] in that position against City.
‘Then you look at the likes of Mason Mount who was bought in for over £60million and isn’t in the starting 11, so you have to question the recruitment process and how decisions are being made.
Next permanent Man Utd manager odds:
Zinedine Zidane – 4/1
Julian Nagelsmann – 5/1
Roberto De Zerbi – 15/2
Graham Potter – 10/1
Michael Carrick – 12/1
Erik ten Hag to leave Man Utd by Christmas – 6/1
Odds courtesy of Betfair
‘Add to that the fact that there have to be big question marks over Bruno Fernandes as captain. Is he a proper leader who is setting an example? I’m not sure.’
Savage had previously stated that Ten Hag should be given until Christmas to get things back on track and still believes this, but with the discourse growing louder, his future at the club is looking increasingly uncertain.
‘If you look at the time Erik ten Hag has had and compare it with Ange Postecoglou at Spurs, Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton, Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool or Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, the stark difference is no-one knows how Manchester United play or at least what they are trying to do,’ the former midfielder added.
‘It’s a bit of a mess right now and while I still believe they need to give Erik ten Hag until Christmas to get things right, he’s certainly had enough time to make the club challenge and be competitive against the likes of City.
‘They are a million miles away from that and the stat that really struck me was that in 26 years under Sir Alex Ferguson, United only lost 34 league games at home. In the 10 years since he left, they’ve now lost the same number.
‘We’ve got to stop saying “it’s Manchester United”. The fact of the matter is that Manchester United are turning into an average team.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.