Man Utd may drop five players in must-win Fulham match as Ten Hag feels the heat

Football Digest: Man Utd urged to give Ten Hag time he needs

Manchester United’s flops were booed off at Old Trafford in their 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United, giving Erik ten Hag the dilemma of whether to ditch his underwhelming players or back them ahead of their must-win clash with Fulham. Another heavy loss sent the Carabao Cup holders crashing out of the fourth round and Ten Hag may be forced to make major changes in order to save his skin, with several senior players failing to impress.

The Dutchman has now overseen a run of seven defeats in 12 games across all competitions and the 53-year-old is running out of time to turn things around after the fans abandoned the team before the final whistle on Wednesday.

He made seven changes from the side that lost by the same scoreline to Manchester City, but that only seemed to exacerbate the situation as his side plumbed lower depths against the Magpies. Goals from Miguel Almiron, Lewis Hall and Joe Willock put them to the sword, despite Newcastle putting out their second string, and United’s key players brought on from the bench hardly fared any better.

In a bid to halt their slide, Ten Hag may face some tough calls ahead of Saturday’s game. Express Sport looks at five players who are facing the axe.

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READ MORE Man Utd players go completely against Erik ten Hag’s pre-match Newcastle message[INSIGHT]

Andre Onana

If Ten Hag is going down, Onana is likely to sink with him. The £47million goalkeeper has largely failed to reach expectations even when it comes to making simple stops in between the sticks and the decision to release David De Gea is looking worse with every day that passes.

Onana is not the sole reason for the Red Devils’ woes, but the goalkeeper has done little to provide his defenders his confidence that he can keep the goals out. Since his move to the Premier League, he has conceded 26 goals in 15 games across all competitions, with only four clean sheets following in that time.

United signed Altay Bayindir to provide competition for Onana, or at least competent backup, and Ten Hag may need to have a difficult conversation with Onana to stop the slide with Bayindir chomping at the bit for a chance.

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Diogo Dalot

The Portuguese can have no arguments if he is dropped from the starting XI for the trip to Craven Cottage after he was culpable for a shambolic display against Newcastle.

The 24-year-old was hooked for Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the second half and it would be no surprise if Ten Hag repeated the switch against Fulham, just a week after his wonder strike secured all three points against Sheffield United.

Dalot was toyed with by the tricky Paraguayan Miguel Almiron and he looked like a deer in headlights for the first goal as Almiron left him for dead. Removing him at half-time was the only option after an awful display and the right-back is likely to be left out when Ten Hag picks his best XI on Saturday.

Mason Mount

A wise head and calm operator in midfield, Christian Eriksen’s composed presence will surely be favoured over Mason Mount as the £60million signing continues to struggle.

Mount is yet to contribute a goal or assist since joining the Red Devils and he never looked like getting involved against Newcastle, as he spent the first half chasing shadows and the second looking unsure of his role in the No 8 position.

Eriksen has been one of few players to escape criticism and his wonderful delivery for Harry Maguire’s header against FC Copenhagen proved he has the quality to create chances. Given how few opportunities United are actually making from open play, Ten Hag cannot afford to leave the Dane on the bench again – while Mount is left to reflect on how his career has nosedived in 2023.


It should be made clear that the Brazilian is set to miss the clash in west London through injury anyway. But there would be no guarantee of the Brazilian starting after his recent alarming dip in form.

The £70m signing was one of United’s most reliable performers in Ten Hag’s first months in Manchester and came up trumps with some vital performances in the midfield. Now he seems to go missing whenever he is on the pitch and it is with complete seriousness that United are better off with Scott McTominay in the heart of the midfield.

One thing the Red Devils can guarantee from the Scot is a tireless effort, as reflected by his sensational two-goal cameo in three minutes to snatch all three points against Brentford. As for Casemiro, no one would be surprised if he packed his bags for Saudi Arabia in January as uncertainty over his place in the team grows.

Victor Lindelof

The Swede was captain for the clash against Newcastle but hardly led by example. He might not have been to blame for the goals conceded, but Lindelof didn’t wear the look of a leader trying to motivate his side.

The centre-back has been preferred to Raphael Varane in recent weeks, a move Ten Hag described as ‘tactical’, but that explanation will no longer fly with United fans questioning why the World Cup winner is being left out for no particular reason.

United have not kept a clean sheet in a Premier League game Lindelof has started since the 1-0 win over Burnley on September 23 and it is high time the Dutchman replaced the sloppy 29-year-old after his recent downturn in performance.

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