Jamie Carragher has warned Manchester United about Erik ten Hag and is so leaderless that no discernible playing style has emerged in the 18 months under the Dutchman.
United were outclassed by City in the Manchester derby on Sunday, losing 3-0 at Old Trafford and showing no tangible signs of closing the gap on the Premier League champions.
If anything, Carragher believes United could slip further under Ten Hag, citing a lack of identity as the main problem.
“None of us here can explain what Manchester United are trying to do in terms of the way they play,” the former Liverpool defender said on Sky Sports on Sunday.
‘He [ten Hag] has been here for almost 18 months now. We saw Unai Emery come in at Aston Villa, we saw Ange Postecoglou come in at Tottenham.
Erik ten Hag is quickly using up all the credit he built up in his first season at Old Trafford
Jamie Carragher believes the Dutchman has failed to give United an identity in 18 months
“In a short period of time it doesn’t mean you win every week, but when you go to the games you know what you’re going to see.”
“We still don’t know what we’re going to see at Manchester United. “You tell me how they play with the ball.”
United finished third in ten Hag’s first season as manager and won their first trophy in six years, but the reputation the Dutchman built last season is fast fading.
The 20-time English champions are eighth in the table, 11 points behind leaders Tottenham and eight points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.
United have lost five of their 10 Premier League games so far this season and have scored as many goals as a team – 11 – as many as Erling Haaland alone.
While Carragher admitted the ongoing uncertainty over the takeover had not helped Ten Hag, he insisted United’s lack of identity on the pitch could not be blamed on the Glazers.
“Every time they get beat badly in a game, it all goes back to the owners,” he said.
“Of course it’s not right, the fans aren’t happy, but you’re talking about a style of football.”
United were completely outclassed by Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday
Erling Haaland scored two goals in the Premier League champions’ comfortable 3-0 win
“What he does on the training pitch from Monday to Friday has nothing to do with the arrival of Jim Radcliffe.”
“What does he want these players to do? “What are Manchester United trying to do with the ball when they build from the back – and we see every top team in the league doing that?”
Carragher continued, pointing out that United’s approach was typical of a team that wants to avoid being completely outclassed by better opponents.
“They play underdog football and they have been doing that since he came in,” he said.
“They play counterattacks and play a lot of long balls. No other top team plays like that.
“It has nothing to do with what’s going on above him.” What does he do on the training pitch, with the players he signs and what does he ask of them? You can’t see it.’
Ten Hag’s signings at Old Trafford have been largely disappointing. Antony, the club’s second-most expensive signing at £82 million, failed to make an impact as he came on for a second-half cameo.
Mason Mount, a £60million signing for Chelsea, was on the bench for the third game in a row and made no impact when substituted, while loanee Sofyan Amrabat was withdrawn at half-time.
Casemiro, meanwhile, is struggling to regain the form he showed in his first season at Old Trafford following his £60million move from Real Madrid last summer.
Mason Mount, a £60million summer signing from Chelsea, was on the bench for the third game in a row and made no impact when he came on
Carragher described Casemiro as one of United’s worst signings under ten Hags
The Brazilian was missing on Sunday but Carragher described him as “one of the worst signings they have ever made”.
Gary Neville admitted to the same panel that United had allowed ten Hag to dictate recruitment policy.
“They allowed another manager to come in and dictate policy and wag his tail on hiring,” he said.
“They brought in eight Eredivisie players from a league that Erik ten Hag believes he can trust.”