From the 2nd to the 31st of December, Manchester United participated in 8 matches across various competitions. Unfortunately, they suffered defeat in 5 of them. Eric ten Haag’s squad managed to secure victories in 2 of the remaining 3 matches and drew 1. The team’s supporters witnessed an uncommon string of results leading to December. The recent 2-1 loss against Nottingham Forest marked United’s most challenging start to a league season in 93 years, surpassing their previous record set in 1930.
The 1930/31 season stands out as one of the most disappointing periods for Manchester United fans. Herbert Bamlett served as the coach of Manchester United during that season. He had taken up the role in 1927 but faced termination in 1931, just before the last six remaining matches, as relegation loomed. Walter Crickmer, the club’s secretary at the time, stepped in as the acting manager for the remainder of the season. This managerial change fueled fan frustration over Manchester United’s performance. The climax of the season was the match between United and Middlesbrough, which drew the ire of the fans. The final game, witnessed by fewer than 4,000 spectators, highlighted the collective disappointment surrounding the team’s performance.
Following this latest defeat against Nottingham Forest, Manchester United holds 31 points from 20 games, placing them in seventh position at the 2023/24 season’s table. Ten Haag’s team is trailing nine points behind Arsenal, who currently occupy the fourth spot. Despite equalizing with Marcus Rashford’s goal in the 64th minute against Forest, United conceded again in the 82nd minute, failing to recover. This loss constitutes United’s fourth in the last 6 matches across all competitions.
After the match, Coach Ten Haag described the loss as ‘unfortunate‘ and ‘disappointing.’ He expressed, “The rate is unchanged. We lost in the first half. We didn’t expend enough energy. We should have given more in the first half. We played a little bit better in the second half. We know this result does not meet our standards. Players are not happy with this result. But we should have played better.”
This downturn sees United losing nine of their first 20 league games for the first time since the 1989-90 season. In total, they have suffered defeat in 14 matches across all competitions this season, exceeding the number of losses before entering the new year in the 1930-31 season. United has experienced such a high number of defeats in a year only three times in their storied history.
Coach Ten Haag attributes the team’s struggles to injuries, stating, “There are injuries. There are other problems. But the injury is what held us back. Many of our players will return in January. So the standard of our game will increase.”
However, former players of the team, including legendary defender Gary Neville, point fingers at the coach. Neville expressed his lack of doubt that the United authorities would decide on Ten Haag before the end of the season, stating, “If they keep Ten Haag until the end of the season and the situation is like this, he will be really under pressure.”