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Report: Ten Hag 'on thin ice' at Man Utd; Zidane among potential replacements

Ash Donelon / Manchester United / Getty

Manchester United's faith in Erik ten Hag is waning in the wake of a pair of defeats that have put the club in a perilous position.

The Dutch head coach is "on thin ice" after back-to-back 3-0 losses at home against Manchester City in the Premier League and Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup, according to Charlotte Duncker and Matt Lawton of The Times.

With the team enduring its worst start in 61 years, Manchester United officials are now considering possible replacements in the event Ten Hag gets sacked. Former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim have been identified as possible candidates to succeed the 53-year-old.

Zidane has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid in 2021, three years after winning his third Champions League title at the club. Meanwhile, Amorim, 38, is regarded as one of the top young coaches after leading Sporting to their first league triumph in Portugal in 19 years. Amorim was also linked with Chelsea before the Blues appointed Mauricio Pochettino.

But a decision over Ten Hag's future could be delayed due to the uncertainty around Manchester United's ownership, Duncker and Lawton add.

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly set to purchase an initial 25% stake in Manchester United for £1.3 billion and is keen to take up the responsibility of having a say in football decisions. But while an agreement between United and the founder of chemicals giant INEOS could be announced next week, it could take until the new year before Ratcliffe's affiliation is finalized.

Along with the front office reportedly starting to lose confidence, some Manchester United players have questioned whether Ten Hag is suited for the job of getting Manchester United back on track. There have also been concerns about the intensity of Ten Hag's training sessions, which have been blamed for some injuries this season, Duncker and Lawton report.

Wednesday's Carabao Cup exit compounded issues facing a Manchester United squad that's lost eight of its opening 15 fixtures in all competitions this term, which equals the club's worst start since the 1962-63 season.

Ten Hag, who vowed that he was a "fighter" after losing to Newcastle, is expected to be on the touchline for United's clash against Fulham on Saturday. But anything other than a victory could possibly expedite Manchester United's decision, considering that the club's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League already look bleak.

Manchester United sit eighth in the Premier League, eight points back of the top four, and face the risk of being eliminated in the Champions League group stage after losing two of their first three games.

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