Erik ten Hags first task is to deliver on failed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promise at Man Utd

Man Utd's 2022/23 Premier League Fixtures

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Although the Premier League season is still two months away, we now know the fixtures for the upcoming campaign after they were released on Thursday. Manchester United kick things off at home to Brighton before hosting Liverpool not too long after at Old Trafford.

It’s expected to be a season of transition at United as Erik ten Hag will be a new figure in the dugout, and his first task will be to deliver where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed.

Ahead of the first game of the Premier League season last year, Solskjaer promised to turn Old Trafford into a fortress. And after finishing second the season before, there was a sense of optimism around United about what could be in store.

Obviously we know now that they ended up having their worst Premier League season of all-time, and Solskjaer’s initial promise couldn’t have been further from the truth. Ralf Rangnick attempted to pick up the pieces, but also failed to deliver.

During the 2020/21 season, United suffered a poor start to the season, with a brutal 6-1 defeat to Tottenham at home standing out as the main embarrassment. And Solskjaer promised that this would not happen again ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Ahead of their opening day clash against Leeds last season, Solskjaer said: “We lost three or four of the first home games last season, I do not remember exactly. We will not do that this year.

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“You have to start well, gain momentum. Last year we were second, the year before we finished third, so there is progression. You have to be on top form from the first to the last match.”

And United started well, beating Leeds 5-1 before continuing their run into September. But it all came crashing down as United lost back-to-back home games against Aston Villa and West Ham, and the mood began to change.

The 5-0 defeat to Liverpool really left Old Trafford in a state of shock, and this was quickly followed up with a dominant display by Manchester City to kick-off November. “Three of four of the first home games, we will not do that this year,” Solskjaer said. But three defeats from their first six, conceding in every game? It’s not any better.

Solskjaer was dismissed, but the damage was already done; the former manager has already led the way for what can happen, in a warning to his eventual successor. And Solskjaer failed despite signing Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.

So far, although he’s refreshed the coaching staff, Ten Hag is yet to make a signing even though 11 first team players have been released. The Dutchman needs to be backed if he is to stand any chance.

He may have been drafted in as the ideal candidate, but he certainly isn’t a miracle worker. And it looks like it could take more than that with the way that United have fallen.

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