Dutch legend Frank de Boer described Manchester United as ‘average’ in the game against Newcastle – he was right.
And too many ‘average’ games will see Man Utd miss out on a top four finish or European football altogether.
Boss Erik ten Hag needs a solution ahead of the World Cup and he has five games to go with United having some clubs hot on their heels.
The Dutchman’s side have had a mixed start to the season, with their best wins over Arsenal and Liverpool.
However, they have held off against sides who can beat them as favorites and they were held by the visiting magpies in a 0-0 draw as they struggled to create clear chances.
In fact, Newcastle went the closest as Joelinton hit the woodwork twice.
United sometimes looked shaky at the back and lethargic in front of goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has struggled to get into games this season, has been largely anonymous again and his supporting cast hasn’t helped him much either.
The 37-year-old cut a frustrated figure when he was hooked with 20 minutes remaining for Marcus Rashford, who alongside Anthony Martial appears to be Ten Hag’s preferred option ahead of the Portuguese star.
The stalemate at Old Trafford leaves United three points behind Chelsea in fourth place and keeps Newcastle within reach.
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And rivals Liverpool may be 12th but it would be foolish to rule out a revival and a top-four attack from Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Failure to secure a top four finish and Champions League football this season could spell disaster both on and off the pitch.
Financially, the Red Devils would take a hit with sponsor Adidas.
Her sponsorship would be reduced by 30 per cent, receiving £22.5million less.
On the pitch, it would end almost any chance for Ronaldo to remain at Old Trafford, as missing out on Europe’s elite club competition last season was the driving factor behind a summer move.
Whether they are in contention for a top-four finish will become clearer when back-to-back games against third-placed Tottenham and Chelsea come up.
United also welcome West Ham to Old Trafford on the 30th, who have improved their form drastically.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6455609/man-utd-newcastle-verdict-top-four/ Too many ‘average’ games will see Man Utd miss out on a top-four finish and Ten Hag need to find a solution ahead of the World Cup