ERIK TEN HAG has Scott McTominay to thank for sparing his blushes at Manchester United after taking the club backwards.
That is the view of Sky Sports pundit Tim Sherwood.
Man Utd's early season form has seen them fall to four defeats in eight league games, while also producing back-to-back losses in their only two Champions League matches.
Until injury time against Brentford, the Red Devils were on course for a fifth league defeat before McTominay came up with two last-gasp goals to snatch victory.
Over the international break, McTominay almost added to his incredible recent record but saw his goal against Spain strangely ruled out.
Speaking to William Hill's No Tippy Tappy Podcast, Sherwood said: "McTominay has had an incredible couple of weeks. He was phased out at Man Utdand had Hannibal Mejbri ahead of him.
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"Since then he’s come off the bench, not sulking, with a point to prove and he’s scored two match winning goals. You only get that from an academy player who really loves the club."
He continued: "He has got Ten Hag out of the mire. I don’t think those late goals make him a better manager and we have to think the same about him as we would if they had lost the game.
"Ten Hag has taken the club backwards and I don’t believe what he is doing is good enough."
While performances on the pitch have not been to standard, the situation off it is no greater.
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Injuries have ravaged the squad, leaving United with a makeshift defence owing to having just one full-back available and a second string centre-back pairing.
Ex-Tottenham boss Sherwood – a Premier League winner during his playing days at Blackburn – highlighted this, singling out former Real Madrid star Raphael Varane.
He said: "I think he is getting away with it. He is never fit and when he is fit he’s bang average.
"We all know he’s had a great career but at the same time everyone is happy to jump on the back of Harry Maguire while Varane just gets away with it.
"The ones who play more football are simply more durable and they can play week in week out… Varane seems to play once and then be injured again for two weeks.
"He seems to be picking his games, but when he plays he’s not that brilliant anyway. Ten Hag is not judging players equally and he’s just chucking people onto the pitch and hoping one of the superstars wins him the match.
"As soon as one of the superstars is fit he takes the likes of Hannibal and McTominay out of the team, and they end up losing football matches."
The ongoing takeover saga of the club has also created a huge distraction, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe appearing to have finally won the race – though there could a one-month wait to confirm the bid.
However, Sherwood insists Ten Hag cannot hide behind it as an excuse.
He added: "When people talk about the Glazers being the problem at Manchester United it’s almost like a get out of jail free card. It doesn’t matter about the owners or the chief executive.
"What matters is that their set of players got outplayed by a team towards the bottom of the league, and that has happened multiple times this season. That is down to the manager.
"You’re always going to win games when you have the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford at your disposal.
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"But the manager’s job is to improve players and he’s not improving anyone. You only have to look at Rashford’s recent England performance compared to his club form to see that."
Man Utd face Sheffield United at 8pm on Saturday, before a Champions League clash with Copenhagen and the Manchester derby.
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