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Gary Neville: Erik ten Hag's Man Utd future largely depends on winning the FA Cup

Speaking on the Gary Neville podcast, former Man Utd captain says there is 'no explanation' and 'no excuses' for how the team are playing and, with Champions League qualification almost gone, FA Cup is 'everything'; Man Utd face Coventry in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday; kick-off 3.30pm

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Speaking on his podcast, Gary Neville believes that Erik ten Hag's Manchester United future will depend on whether they are successful in the FA Cup

Erik ten Hag's Manchester United future is now "largely dependent" on the FA Cup, says Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville after watching the latest below-par performance from his former side.

United escaped from Bournemouth with a 2-2 draw on Saturday, despite a controversial late VAR call going against the hosts, and head coach Ten Hag admitted they "didn't deserve more" than the solitary point after another alarming display.

That result leaves United 13 points off fourth-placed Aston Villa, who have played a game more. With just six matches remaining for Ten Hag's side, their prospects of making up that gap to the Champions League qualifying spots look unlikely.

The FA Cup looks like their only chance to salvage success from the season. United face Championship side Coventry at Wembley on Sunday in the semi-finals, with back-to-back final appearances in the competition under Ten Hag still a possibility.

Having won the Carabao Cup in his first season in charge, only more domestic silverware could save under-pressure Ten Hag's position at United, says Neville.

"They have just got to try get to the end of the season and win the FA Cup which is not going to be easy," said the former United captain on the Gary Neville podcast.

"They have to win next weekend as the season will be over if they don't. Erik ten Hag has got to look at this season whereby he could finish his first two seasons with two trophies in the bank, one in each season. That should never be sniffed at.

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"There's nothing left to say about some of the league performances we're seeing and some of the things we're watching, the tweets and the likes, we've said it so many times before.

"But what we can say is that Erik ten Hag's future is largely dependent on the FA Cup, as their performances in the league are gone. They are not going to change, now what we are seeing is how they will finish the season it seems like the players have switched off away from home at times.

"At home, they have to turn on as there's 75,000 people who won't allow them to get away with it. The Man Utd fans, they never stop away from home and they are watching some really dodgy stuff. They never turn against the team or manager and they have been dealt with some right guff. But the FA Cup is everything."

No excuses for Man Utd's performance levels

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Gary Neville says Manchester United's performance levels and squad unrest remind him of the same problems faced by Erik ten Hag's predecessors at Old Trafford - and injury problems are no excuse for the Dutch manager

United beat Liverpool in a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final before the March international break and Ten Hag said afterwards he believed it could be a turning point for his side.

But since resuming action, United have failed to win a match and put in highly-criticised performances at Brentford and Bournemouth, as well as throwing away a lead to lose at Chelsea. There was a Premier League draw at home to Liverpool but their rivals' finishing let them off.

Neville says that while the poor displays may have now become familiar to United supporters, Ten Hag cannot rely on injuries which have hit his squad as an excuse.

"There's nothing more to say we've seen it all before," said Neville about the team's recent form.

"It's a repeat of what's happened over the last six, seven, eight years with managers in their second or third seasons at Manchester United where there seems to be that breakdown at the end.

"The main thing is the performance levels and we've seen at Brentford, we've now seen at Bournemouth, they are really low performance levels which is a worry.

"I know people point towards the injuries and Manchester United have had a mountain of injuries but I said the same against Liverpool, nine of that team that started on Saturday would probably be in the starting XI if everyone was fit.

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"[Andre] Onana, [Harry] Maguire, [Diogo] Dalot, Casemiro, [Kobbie] Mainoo, Bruno Fernandes and [Rasmus] Hojlund, [Alejandro] Garnacho and [Marcus] Rashford.

"Those are nine players, who are Manchester United's best players in those positions. You bring in Luke Shaw and you bring in [Lisandro] Martinez and you can possibly argue between [Raphael] Varane and Maguire but there's nothing in it.

"They have had lots of injuries but at the moment there's no excuses for the levels of the performances we're seeing and every team has one or two players missing at certain points.

"There's no explanation for how they are playing. The anger, or disappointment has gone out of many Manchester United fans' voices. We've got to a point where the FA Cup is a big thing.

"You've always said winning a trophy a season is a real achievement. But it is a bizarre experience watching Man Utd, how bad they can be in games."

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