Man Utd: Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s reaction to collapse speaks volumes as writing on the wall | Football | Sport

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Man Utd: Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s reaction to collapse speaks volumes as writing on the wall | Football | Sport

Sir Dave Brailsford has been a regular fixture in the director’s box at Manchester United games since Sir Jim Ratcliffe secured a 27.7 per cent stake in the club in February. The 71-year-old United supporter admitted his attendance would be less common, but he witnessed the problems he has inherited first-hand in Thursday’s incredible defeat at Chelsea.

Erik ten Hag’s faint hopes of securing Champions League qualification this season exploded in the dying embers of eight minutes of stoppage time at Stamford Bridge.

United had completed a stunning comeback through a brace from Alejandro Garnacho on either side of Bruno Fernandes’ header.

Conor Gallagher had fired Chelsea ahead after just four minutes before Cole Palmer made it 2-0 in the 19th minute. By half-time, it was 2-2.

The Red Devils led 3-2 and looked comfortable holding onto the lead up until the 96th minute when Diogo Dalot felled Noni Madueke from behind in the penalty area.

Palmer scored his second penalty of the game in the 100th minute to seemingly rescue a point. Moments later, the 21-year-old was celebrating a winner in unbelievable circumstances.

Ratcliffe was pictured alongside Brailsford and Peter Schmeichel throughout the game. He was deep in conversation with the former earlier in the clash before wearing a bright grin as United took the lead.

But the look on his face after the Old Trafford giants collapsed to a startling last-gasp defeat painted a clear picture.

The INEOS boss didn’t look impressed and cut a dejected figure as he left Stamford Bridge, where he admitted to having had a season ticket as a young football fan despite supporting United.

Ratcliffe and his new-look football structure have a huge decision to make this summer. They can’t go into their first full season at the helm with a manager they don’t have 100 per cent faith in.

United are 11 points behind fourth-place Aston Villa and trail Tottenham Hotspur in fifth by nine with eight games left. The prospect of not even qualifying for the Europa League is growing.

No manager has survived post-Sir Alex Ferguson after failing to guide United into the Champions League.

David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were sacked after the club’s fate was confirmed, while they failed to make the cut in the seasons Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were dismissed midway through.

Ten Hag could lift a second trophy in as many seasons in the FA Cup, as much as a triumph over Chelsea or Manchester City feels unlikely if United navigate past Coventry City in the semi-finals.

But that didn’t save Van Gaal in 2016, and with a clean slate likely this summer, the writing looks to be on the wall for the Dutchman.

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