The west London club were beaten 2-0 at home to Aston Villa on Saturday evening, meaning they had won just two of their last nine Premier League matches, while they slipped down to 11th place in the table.
Chelsea’s hierarchy therefore took the decision to sack Potter – who cost around £22million to prise away from Brighton – after only 31 games in charge, with Bruno Saltor handed the reins on an interim basis.
Ten Hag did not seem entirely shocked by the decision and feels modern football simply does not give managers the time they need, with the Dutchman himself also having to traverse the line between a long-term vision and short-term results.
Asked about Potter’s dismissal, and how little time he was afforded, Ten Hag said: ‘You never get the time.
‘You know that you have to get results. Top football is about the results. That’s the game and you have to accept it.
‘In the mean time you have to work on your process, but it has to be in balance.’
United were beaten 2-0 away to Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday, a result which dropped them down to fifth in the table, and continued a worrying run of form that saw them drop points at home to Southampton and lose 7-0 against Liverpool at Anfield.
Since lifting the Carabao Cup, United are yet to win in the Premier League – though have only played three times – and Ten Hag has now allayed any concerns over a slump in form at such a crucial stage of the season.
Asked about the side’s sudden drop-off, Ten Hag replied at his pre-match press conference before facing Brentford on Wednesday: ‘So we played 60 minutes against Southampton with 10 men. We beat Fulham [in the FA Cup] – that’s a Premier League opponent.
‘We beat Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final – that’s a Premier League opponent. So no concerns. We know we can beat Premier League teams.’
Reflecting on the Newcastle defeat, he added: ‘We had a very bad performance because the opponent wanted it more than we did.
‘They were sharper, you can see that in the challenges. We won only 16 from 61 challenges in offence. And in defence the opponent beats us 48 from 78 challenges. [When that happens] you can’t win a game.’
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