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Stranded between identity crisis and managerial woes, Man Utd facing disastrous 2023/24

Although the 2023/24 campaign has yet to reach the halfway stage, it’s already been a season to forget for Manchester United.

Erik ten Hag’s side crashed out of European football on Tuesday night as Bayern Munich’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford condemned his team to a bottom-place finish in Champions League Group A.

In addition to earning the wooden spoon during a nightmarish European journey, highlighted by four defeats in six matches, Man United are already out of the League Cup, having lost 3-0 to Newcastle United in round four.

Unfortunately for the devastated Theatre of Dreams faithful, the Premier League table doesn’t offer much respite, with the record-time English champions stranded six points below the top four.

United wasted a golden opportunity to whittle down the gap on fourth-placed Manchester City last weekend, suffering a humiliating 3-0 home loss to bottom-half Bournemouth.

That result forms part of a more ominous picture, as Ten Hag’s men have lost seven of their opening 16 league games (W7) en route to posting the club’s worst top-flight start in almost 40 years.

Bringing all competitions into the equation, Man Utd have lost 50% of their 24 matches this term (W11, D1, L12), already as many defeats as in 62 games in 2022/23.

It gets worse.

To put the team’s woes in context, you’d need to wind the clock back 50 years for the last time United entered the loss column after 24 outings as many times as this season.

Given the circumstances, it’s only natural to wonder how long under-pressure Ten Hag can survive at the helm.

The burden of responsibility for the club’s dreadful streak falls on the Dutch manager, though it feels unjust to put all the blame solely on him.

But the fact remains – this Man Utd side lacks an identity and a coherent game strategy.

As a manager, it’s his job to instil a winning mentality and tactical framework within the team.

He has failed in both aspects.