Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has suggested Erik ten Hag must finish the season “strongly” in order to save his job at Old Trafford, and he will need his best players fit again sooner rather than later.

The pressure is mounting on Erik ten Hag, as the Dutchman has now overseen 14 defeats for Manchester United this season, and this latest one is a bad one.

Nottingham Forest were without a win in four home games stretching back to the time of Steve Cooper at the club and were keen to find a home win under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

Manchester United, meanwhile, overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat Aston Villa in midweek, which was expected to be a turning point for Manchester United this season, but they were instead handed a rude awakening at the hands of a determined Forest side, losing 2-1 to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Goals from Nicolas Dominguez and Morgan Gibbs-White either side of a Marcus Rashford equaliser condemned United to their ninth league defeat of the campaign. The Red Devils find themselves out of the running for every title bar the FA Cup. They are nine points shy of the top four in the Premier League and 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool, despite having played a game more.

The arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the INEOS Group as 25 percent shareholders is expected to coincide with an upturn in the fortunes of the club. Time is ticking for Ten Hag to find a way to turn things around, or he may soon find himself out of a job, with former Chelsea boss Graham Potter having been heavily linked with the prospect of replacing him.

“With the new ownership, Sir Dave Brailsford’s going to be on a watching brief, week in, week out now,” Neville told Sky Sports following Saturday night’s defeat to Nottingham Forest, quotes as relayed by The Mirror.

“We’re going to see him appear there in the directors’ box. He’s going to look at what this club is, on and off the pitch. What he’s seeing at this moment in time he isn’t going to like, along with all the fans behind the goal who travelled to Nottingham today.”

“Ten Hag needs his players back – Martinez, Maguire, Casemiro, (Rasmus) Hojlund, Luke Shaw… and he needs to somehow finish the season strongly. But it’s been a really up-and-down season. It’s more down than up. Some of these performances are really, really poor. Well below anything that should be required at this level,” Neville continued.

“Erik ten Hag will be under pressure, there’s no doubt about that. They’re obviously going to appoint those three roles – CEO, sporting director and head of recruitment – they’ll all come in and the rest of them will go. The coach is the one that will be their biggest deliberation, it always is in a football club, because you don’t sack a coach easily.”

A number of players in Ten Hag’s squad have been battling injury issues over the past few months, as all the current problems have culminated in increasing pressure on his shoulders. His tactical decisions have attracted criticism on various occasions throughout the campaign, while his recruitment has also come under scrutiny.

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