Small margins?! The gap between Man Utd and City is bigger than ever – and Erik ten Hag shows no sign of bridging it

Ten Hag Manchester United Manchester City

No one would want to be a manager heading into a press conference after a heavy defeat to your local rivals. But Erik ten Hag’s performance in the Etihad Stadium media room following Manchester United’s crushing 3-1 loss by Manchester City was quite something.

The Dutchman has taken the gloves off in his recent media appearances and come out swinging, making some fascinating claims in the process, from calling Antony “unstoppable” to asking Fulham to apologise for a TikTok post that called out Bruno Fernandes for apparently diving.

On Sunday, he continued the theme by insisting that United and City were not that far apart after all. “No, I don’t think so, absolutely not,” he said. “We have many problems with injuries and still we had an opportunity. Really small margins.”

Come again? Really small margins? The difference between the two rivals has never been larger. It is obviously in Ten Hag’s interests to try and paint a different, more hopeful picture, but he is fooling no one. After nearly two years in charge, he has had the time and money to bridge the gap, but if anything, it has got wider.