Too many 'average' games will see Man Utd miss out on top-four finish and Ten Hag must find solution before World Cup | The Sun
DUTCH legend Frank de Boer described Manchester United as "average" in their 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 as a whole.
Boss Erik ten Hag has to find a solution before the World Cup, and he has five games to do so, with a number of clubs hot on United's heels.
The Dutchman's side have had a mixed start to the season with their best wins coming against Arsenal and Liverpool.
However, they've struggled against sides they're favourites to beat and they were held to a 0-0 draw by the visiting Magpies while struggling to fashion clear-cut chances.
In fact, Newcastle went closest with Joelinton striking the woodwork twice.
United looked shaky at the back at times, and lethargic in front of goal, and better sides with more firepower will make them pay.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has struggled to get into games this season, was largely anonymous again and his supporting cast didn't do much to help him either.
The 37-year-old cut a frustrated figure as he was hooked with 20 minutes to go for Marcus Rashford, who seems to be Ten Hag's preferred option ahead of the Portugal star, alongside Anthony Martial.
The stalemate at Old Trafford leaves United three points off fourth place Chelsea and it keeps Newcastle within touching distance.
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And rivals Liverpool may be down in 12th but you would be silly to rule out a revival and top-four charge 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 sponsors Adidas.
Their sponsorship would fall 30 per cent, receiving £22.5million LESS.
While on the pitch, it would all but end any chance of Ronaldo staying on at Old Trafford with missing out on Europe's elite club competition last season being the driving factor behind pushing for a summer move.
Whether they're in the fight for a top-four finish will become more apparent with games against third place Tottenham and Chelsea coming up back-to-back.
United also welcome West Ham to Old Trafford on the 30th, who have seen their form drastically improve.
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