Erik ten Hag heads to Saturday lunchtime’s Premier League game against Fulham with pressure mounting on his position as Manchester United endure their worst start to the season in decades.
Here the PA news agency looks at its previous statistics.
Theater of Screams
United have lost eight of their first 15 games, including five of 10 at home, as Old Trafford’s former ‘fortress’ status has weakened.
Only once in their history, in 1930/31, have United lost five of their first ten home games in all competitions.
Manchester City in the Premier League and Newcastle in the Carabao Cup have suffered back-to-back home defeats by three goals each – the first time United have suffered that fate since 1962.
Their form is in stark contrast to last season, when Ten Hag’s side only lost two home games in total – against Brighton in the league and Real Sociedad in the Europa League.
The only slightly more encouraging omen is that both games took place before mid-September and Ten Hag was then able to turn things around with a 32-game unbeaten home run to end the season, which included 13 straight wins October 19th to February 4th.
Premier League low point
United’s record from their first ten league games also shows an even split of five wins and five losses, with home advantage making no difference – they have won three at home and lost three, as well as two and two away.
That puts their average points per game at 1.5, lower than they have in any full Premier League season – at this rate they are on course to score 57 points, one less than their lowest Premier League total Finished sixth in 2021/22.
There are now five instances where they have lost fewer than their current five games in an entire Premier League season – including three in consecutive years in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, and four in a 42-year season . 1993/94 season. The others came in 2008/09 and 2010/11, each with four defeats, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s teams winning the league on all five occasions.
Their worst goal difference in a Premier League season is minus-six after losing 6-1 to Tottenham in the third game of the 2020/21 season – although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at least recovered to finish second on 12 Points behind Manchester City. They are currently just one goal better off, meaning a defeat to Fulham would see them at least reach that low point.
Ten Hag’s philosophy
In a snippet from his pre-match press conference against Fulham, shared on United’s “To connect with the DNA of Manchester.” United and with the skills and characters of the players. Last season we saw what it was like, we played very good football.
“This season the philosophy is no different, I just want to put more emphasis on playing straight. They thought I want to play long balls, but I want to play from the back, we want to press from different blocks and then play straight because we have players who are very good at that.”
In Premier League games they had an average of 53.2 percent ball possession and in the Champions League 48 percent. The overall average is 53.8 percent, which can be attributed to two ball-dominant games in the League Cup, where they even had 62 percent possession in the hammering against Newcastle.