Ten Hag: If Man Utd don’t want me, I’ll go somewhere else & win trophies

A bullish Erik ten Hag hit back after Man Utd’s FA Cup final win against Man City as uncertainty continues to surround his future at the club.

There was plenty of focus on the Dutchman after his side were 2-1 winners at Wembley, with goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo securing a second trophy in two seasons under Ten Hag.

Victory also secured a place in the Europa League next season.

When questioned about his future after the game, Ten Hag said: “I don’t think about this. I’m in a project and we are exactly where we want to be.

“We are constructing a team and when I took over, it was a mess at Man Utd. We are now on our way to constructing a team for the future.

“There will be ups and downs, but you see, the team is developing, the team is winning and at the end of the day, it is about winning trophies.

“The team also plays to an identity, but you need the players to be available. You need a strong squad in top football, especially when you play in England and in Europe. The Premier League is so competitive, so you need a very good squad, and you need the players available in that squad.

“There is still a lot of work to do but we are exactly where we are. We have value in the squad, and we have players with high potential who are progressing very well.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Alex Ferguson refused to say whether Erik ten Hag will remain Manchester United boss next season following speculation he’ll be sacked.

“The team is progressing, and we are winning trophies. Two trophies in two years is not bad. Three finals is not bad, but we have to keep going. I’m not satisfied with it.

“We have to do better and if they don’t want me anymore, then I’ll go anywhere else to win trophies because that is what I have done my whole career.”

When asked if he felt undermined by the club reportedly speaking to other managers ahead of the final, Ten Hag added: “I don’t know if they’ve done this. I can’t answer this question. Maybe you have sources, I don’t have them.”

Dalot: You could feel in the dressing room that we wanted to win

Diogo Dalot speaking to ITV: 

“You could feel in the dressing room we really wanted to win this game.

“You could use all the excuses that everybody has talked about all season, from injuries to performances, overall I try not to use excuses, we still play for Manchester United. 

“It’s reality, we cannot hide from it, but we’re on the pitch and still have opportunities to do things good.

“It feels good, especially for the fans who were amazing, they deserve this.”

When asked if the club needs stability after appointing five permanent managers since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, Ten Hag replied: “When you see the last decade, there were not so many finals for this club, there were not so many trophies for this club and there were not so many talents coming through into the first team with high potential.

“But also, in the middle group, they developed this season very well. Think about Diogo Dalot as an example. There are also others.

“We strengthened the squad by our coaching and with our training. But also, we still need transfer windows to bring better players in and also players who are always available or often available.

“When the players are not robust enough, and this season the players were not robust enough, you cannot deliver consistent performances.”

Keane: Fingers crossed Man Utd support the manager

Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag won his second trophy as Man Utd manager, beating Man City in the FA Cup final on Saturday

Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane hopes Manchester United back Erik ten Hag, adding the manager has done his job by winning the FA Cup on Saturday.

He told ITV Sport: “We don’t know if a decision has been made, we know the pressure the manager is under and the questions before the game.

“It’s always difficult when you are preparing for a cup final. In football you have to enjoy these moments, the staff, the players, the supporters. And then cross the bridge when it comes to it.

“The manager has done his job today. Beating Man City in an FA Cup final is an extra bonus. Fingers crossed they support the manager.”

Discussing his former side’s performance, Keane added: “I’m really pleased for United. I had a funny feeling this morning that they’d turn up and win the Cup. I can’t put my finger on but I’m delighted they have done.

“The league form has to improve, but you have to enjoy these moments. This is what you want when you play for Manchester United – you want more of it. There’s the expectation.

“It was a proper Manchester United performance. They were dogged, sat in and played some good football, scoring two goals. They had confidence from the past two games.

“I’ve been critical of Bruno [Fernandes] over the years, but I’ve been proven wrong, his leadership was outstanding. I’ve always mentioned how brilliant he is as a player.”

Mainoo: This was the light at the end of the tunnel

Goalscorers Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho celebrate after Manchester United take a 2-0 lead against Manchester City
Goalscorers Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho celebrate after Man Utd took a 2-0 lead against Man City

Man Utd goalscorer and man of the match Kobbie Mainoo praised the togetherness at the end of a tough season, adding his goal was “an amazing moment”.

He told ITV Sport: “It’s unbelievable, the fans, the game as a whole. We tried to stop them playing through the middle, they are so dangerous. They have so much quality. We tried to send them wide and block from there, defend with our lives.

“I can’t even remember it [his goal], it was such an amazing moment. I just made the run and slotted it into the corner. The quality Bruno has, he sees things that no one else can.

“It’s been a tough season and the fans have been with us the whole way but in a game like this, we had to come together. This game was the light at the end of the tunnel, we had to come together.”

Praise for Kobbie Mainoo…

Erik ten Hag to BBC Sport:“He was really so enjoyable to watch. At his age, he’s an example.”

Alejandro Garnacho to BBC Sport: “Incredible. The best player in the squad and he’s the youngest. We’re also good friends. I’m so happy for him.”

Wayne Rooney to BBC Sport: “You look at his composure on the ball, little passes, one-twos – I think he’s got everything.”

Micah Richards to BBC Sport: “He could play alongside Declan Rice [for England]. He’s got confidence, he’s great to watch – he’s going all the way to the top.”

Guardiola: My game plan wasn’t good

Man City boss Pep Guardiola took the blame for Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat to Man Utd.

“First of all congratulations to Man Utd,” he told his post-match press conference. “My game plan wasn’t good. The second half was much better. We were more intense.

“The players know the reason why. Tactically it wasn’t good. You plan for a game and different positions, but it didn’t work.

“As always against United, we had control but, [not] like we did in the second-half, we couldn’t create.

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After losing the FA Cup final to fierce rivals Manchester United, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola took responsibility for the result, blaming his tactics for their defeat

“We are disappointed today. It’s normal when a team loses the final, but this season has been extraordinary.

“We have challenged for all the trophies in a good way. We now need to rest and come back.”

There was also praise for Man Utd manager Ten Hag, with Guardiola adding: “They have to take a decision [on Ten Hag’s future].

“I don’t know, but he is lovely person, an extraordinary manager, winning the FA Cup was important for them like it was for us last season.”

Analysis: Has Ten Hag given Ratcliffe a dilemma?

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:

The build-up to the game was dominated by speculation over Erik ten Hag’s future, with one newspaper report going as far as to say the decision to sack him had already been made.

It would be no surprise if indeed part owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe had come to that conclusion. Manchester United’s eighth-placed finish was their worst in the Premier League era; their points total the lowest. It had been a desperately poor campaign.

But Ten Hag has at least given him pause for thought. The Dutchman is adamant it would have been different if not for their injuries. This victory, in which returning trio Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Marcus Rashford played key roles, offered some vindication.

Ten Hag can point to those circumstances, and a record of two trophy wins in two years. He can point to the development of Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho under his watch. But it remains to be seen whether there are too many red flags for Ratcliffe.

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