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Erik ten Hag must spark upturn to keep Manchester United job after slump

Erik ten Hag is expected to continue as Manchester United’s manager for Saturday’s trip to Fulham but must oversee an upturn in results to keep his job.

Although there is no desire among the executive to replace Ten Hag, who they have backed as the right man for the long term, there is an acceptance after eight defeats in the first 15 games of the season that the Dutchman needs to turn around this run of form, starting at Craven Cottage.

After Saturday’s 12.30pm kick-off, for which Casemiro is a doubt, United go to Copenhagen for their fourth Champions League group match on Wednesday. Ten Hag’s side have taken three points from their opening three games but are point one behind Galatasaray, who are in the second qualifying position.

United’s 3-0 Carabao Cup loss to Newcastle at Old Trafford on Wednesday knocked the holders out and placed further pressure on Ten Hag. It followed Sunday’s 3-0 Premier League defeat by Manchester City at home and was the first time since October 1962 that United had lost by the scoreline in successive games at home. Ten Hag is under contract until summer 2025 on a salary close to £9m so to sack him could cost the club up to £15m.

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One player firmly in Ten Hag’s corner is Scott McTominay who has ordered his teammates to “fight like dogs” in the coming matches. “Forget about all the people who don’t care about us and write stupid things in the media and try to divide us and all the other things,” he told MUTV. “That’s not important to us at the moment. Everyone has to come together and, when the next game comes, we have to fight like dogs, that’s the way it’s got to be.”