Manchester United have privately accepted replacing Erik ten Hag at the end of the season would come with a certain degree of risk, chiefly because of the lack of an outstanding candidate.

The Dutchman avoided humiliation as his side beat Coventry 4-2 on penalties in the FA Cup semi-finals, after the Championship side fought back from 3-0 down to force extra time.

But while ten Hag has taken his side to a third final in two seasons, his future hangs by a thread after Sunday’s near-fatal collapse against Mark Robins’ men.

Last season, United won their first trophy in six years as they beat Newcastle in he League Cup final and finished third in the Premier League, but lost to Manchester City in the FA Cup final. 

They will face their cross-town rivals in the final at Wembley next month, but their league form has drastically deteriorated and they sit seventh in the table, 16 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa

Erik ten Hag's job is on the line after a dismal second season at Manchester United

Erik ten Hag's job is on the line after a dismal second season at Manchester United

Erik ten Hag’s job is on the line after a dismal second season at Manchester United 

The Dutchman has taken United to a third cup final in two seasons but his team are seventh in the Premier League and in danger of missing out on European football

The Dutchman has taken United to a third cup final in two seasons but his team are seventh in the Premier League and in danger of missing out on European football

The Dutchman has taken United to a third cup final in two seasons but his team are seventh in the Premier League and in danger of missing out on European football 

Thomas Tuchel is keen to return to the Premier League next season

Thomas Tuchel is keen to return to the Premier League next season

Thomas Tuchel is keen to return to the Premier League next season 

England boss Gareth Southgate has been linked with a move to United

England boss Gareth Southgate has been linked with a move to United

Graham Potter is also among the candidates to replace ten Hag

Graham Potter is also among the candidates to replace ten Hag

Gareth Southgate (left) and Graham Potter (right) have both been linked with United

According to The Telegraph, ten Hag has a month to save his job and new technical director Jason Wilcox has been tasked with conducting an audit of his credentials over the next month. 

However, United’s minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS team – which are now in charge of football operations at Old Trafford – are wary there is no obvious candidate to replace ten Hag.

United reportedly harbour reservations over whether Gareth Southgate and Graham Potter – both of whom have been linked with United – would command credibility within the dressing room.

Potter emerged as one of the Premier League’s brightest managers with Brighton, but his spell at Chelsea lasted just seven months.

Southgate, meanwhile, has made England contenders on the international stage but last managed a club 15 years ago when he was sacked by Middlesbrough.

Thomas Tuchel will be available as he’s set to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season and has openly expressed a desire to manage in England again.

While the German is a proven winner and could lift the Champions League for the second time in four seasons next month, his abrasive personality is cited as source of concern.

Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim is also on United’s radar, despite being linked with Liverpool and West Ham.  

Thiago Motta has steered Bologna on the verge of Champions League qualification

Thiago Motta has steered Bologna on the verge of Champions League qualification

Roberto de Zerbi has long been among ten Hag's potential successors

Roberto de Zerbi has long been among ten Hag's potential successors

Bologna manager Thiago Motta (left) and Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi (right) are both said to be highly admired by United’s hierarchy 

United have also been impressed with the likes of Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, Thiago Motta and Michel, who have put Bologna and Girona on course for Champions League qualification on the back of extraordinary seasons in Serie A and LaLiga.

According to The Telegraph, however, questions remain over any of the trio would have the personality to handle the pressure of a club the size of United, particularly ahead of what is expected to be a summer of radical changes.

Since Ratcliffe completed his minority takeover, United have wasted no time in overhauling their football operations in a bid to close the gap with Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal. 

Wilcox left his role as director of football at Southampton last week to take over as technical director at Old Trafford effective immediately. 

His appointment was driven by Omar Berrada, whom he worked with during his spell as academy director at City.

Berrada left City himself earlier this season and will formally begin his role as United’s new chief executive in July, with Dan Ashworth set to join the club as sporting director once financial compensation with Newcastle is agreed. 

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