Manchester United have opted to stand by their manager as Erik ten Hag will lead the club into next season after winning the FA Cup and doing enough to convince Sir Jim Ratcliffe he is the right man for the job

Erik ten Hag is staying as Manchester United boss – and will be handed a new contract.

After two-and-a-half weeks of waiting, United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS team have decided to back Ten Hag and keep faith with the Dutchman. United looked at alternatives to Ten Hag, with England boss Gareth Southgate, Thomas Tuchel, Maruicio Pochettino and Roberto De Zerbi all considered as potential successors.

Tuchel ruled himself out of the race and with Southgate unwilling to enter talks until after Euro 2024, United were unable to look upon him as a viable replacement for Ten Hag. That strengthened Ten Hag’s position and after a thorough performance review of last season and constructive talks with the 54-year-old, United decided to give him the chance to prove himself next season.

Ten Hag, who has one year left on his current contract, saved himself by steering United to a stunning FA Cup final win over local rivals Manchester City last month. With United having finished eighth in the Premier League, their lowest position for 34 years, Ten Hag looked to be heading for the sack after just two years in charge on his £9million-a-year contract.

But with several key players back from injury, the beleaguered United boss masterminded a stunning 2-1 win over Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side to a stunning and shock victory. The win, courtesy of goals from young rising stars Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo, gave Ratcliffe and his team pause for thought over Ten Hag’s future and handed the manager a lifeline.

Having operated against the backdrop of a crippling injury list all last season, which forced him to field more than 30 different defensive combinations, Ten Hag showed what he was capable of achieving with a virtually full-strength squad to choose from.

Ratcliffe and his team, including Sir Dave Brailsford and newly-appointed technical director Jason Wilcox, decided to take a broad view of Ten Hag’s two years in charge of United when deciding his fate. Ten Hag, who claimed he inherited a “mess” when he took over at United, ended the club’s six-year wait for a trophy with last season’s Carabao Cup triumph over Newcastle at Wembley.

But it was the victory over City – and the quality of the performance in particular – that ultimately persuaded United’s football hierarchy that they should stick with Ten Hag. The conclusion from Ratcliffe and his coterie was that Ten Hag deserved the chance to prove himself within the new structure they have built at the club with a new recruitment team and strategy in place.

Sources also said Ten Hag impressed his United bosses with his relentless work ethic and dedication to the role, as well as the dignity and professionalism under huge pressure. The development of younger players, in particular Garnacho and Mainoo, was also a factor in Ten Hag staying, with Ratcliffe and his team accepting the unprecedented injury list as mitigation for United under-performing, both domestically and in Europe.

It was also felt the full benefit of new signings, including Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund, who took time to settle in, and Mason Mount, who spent most of his debut season injured, is still to come United argued it made complete sense to conduct a more thorough review than usual at the end of the first season under the new ownership structure, something that will be an ongoing process going forward.

While United stood accused of indecision the longer they took to reach a decision on Ten Hag, they believed two-and-a-half weeks was not an unreasonable timescale in which to conduct a thorough review and reach, in their mind, the right decision on Ten Hag.

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