Erik ten Hag: Manchester United manager 'facing uncertain future' amid Aston Villa Champions League boost

Erik ten Hag is said to have an uncertain future at Manchester United amid a battle with Aston Villa for a top-four spot

Erik ten Hag has an 'uncertain future' at Manchester United following their 2-1 loss to Fulham last weekend as Aston Villa were handed a major boost in their pursuit of a Champions League place.

Unai Emery's side defeated Nottingham Forest 4-2 in an entertaining Premier League contest at Villa Park on Saturday as United were beaten by 12th-placed Fulham at Old Trafford by a goal deep into second-half stoppage time.

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The victory moved Villa eight points clear of United in sixth with 12 games remaining. Tottenham Hotspur remain in hot pursuit, however, with the North London club five points behind with a game in hand.

The Manchester Evening News reported on Tuesday Ten Hag's future at the club remained uncertain as new minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe takes control of football operations at the club, with an overhaul expected at the Manchester outfit in the summer. Ratcliffe is said have doubts over Ten Hag, whose future could hinge on whether United win the FA Cup and finish in the top four.

The FA Cup is the last piece of silverware the Red Devils can realistically win with the Carabao Cup final taking place last weekend and with them crashing out of the Champions League by finishing bottom of their group. Last weekend's Premier League results could prove decisive in the battle for fourth as Villa look to maintain their strong form under Emery this season.

Former United defender Gary Neville believes a decision has already been made on Ten Hag's future as Villa look to keep themselves out of reach from the Red Devils for the remaining 12 games of the season.

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Neville said: "They’re going to make a decision [on Ten Hag] quite quickly, if they’ve not already. I suspect that [Sir] Jim Ratcliffe and Dave Brailsford already know whether they’re going to keep Erik ten Hag as manager next season. I can’t believe they’re going to wait until May to make that decision and then leave themselves short.

“Where Manchester United have been found out in the last ten years in recruitment, on and off the pitch, is making poor decisions, late decisions, not being ahead of the game. I don’t think they’re going to do that. For me, I suspect that they’ve come to a conclusion already. It may even be whether it’s Champions League [qualification] or not, they still will stick with that decision.”

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