Erik ten Hag dismisses speculation over Man Utd future to focus on FA Cup final

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag after it is suggested the FA Cup final could be his final game at the club: “I have nothing to say. I am just focusing on the job I have to do and that is first win the game on Saturday and then we are in the project. Keep going in the project”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag is only concerned about the job he has to do at the FA Cup final, as rumours about his future in the club are addressed.

Under-fire Erik ten Hag said his sole focus was on winning the FA Cup as he brushed aside talk of the final potentially being his last match as Manchester United manager.

United are looking to salvage a poor, injury-hit season by beating their neighbours City at Wembley.

United bowed out of Europe before Christmas and limped home in eighth place – their lowest ever Premier League finish – as speculation continues over boss Ten Hag’s future.

Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel and Kieran McKenna are among the names linked with the Old Trafford hot seat as INEOS consider how to take the club back to the top.

  • Man Utd meet McKenna reps amid Chelsea interest in Ipswich boss
  • Why Ipswich’s McKenna is a manager in demand
  • Merson Says: Man Utd must play game of their lives
  • Premier League grades: Rate every team’s season here!
  • All you need to know – Streaming Sky Sports with NOW
  • Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp | Download the Sky Sports app

Asked about some people suggesting this weekend’s final could be his last match as United manager, Ten Hag chuckled and said: “I have nothing to say.

“I am just focusing on the job I have to do and that is first win the game on Saturday and then we are in the project. Keep going in the project.”

He added: “I came here to win trophies.

“Saturday I have the next opportunity and we achieved this, earned this opportunity as a team and now we have to go for it.

“In the same time, in the last two years, of course after every season you review it and then we will see where we are in the project and things we have to change.

“We spoke lately about it. Underneath there are very good things – players coming up, players developing, values coming up.

“And, in the same time, we have on Saturday a big opportunity to win the next trophy.”

Ten Hag: Maguire unavailable for FA Cup final

Image: Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has been ruled out of the FA Cup final

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of the FA Cup final against Manchester City on Saturday.

The Man Utd defender sustained a muscle injury in training earlier this month and was expected to be out for three weeks.

“Maguire is unavailable,” manager Erik ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference.

Asked if Maguire, who has been named in England’s provisional Euro 2024 squad, has suffered a setback, Ten Hag said: “I don’t think so, no.

“It’s just he didn’t make it, didn’t heal as we expected.”

United’s injury issues easing

Image: Marcus Rashford could feature for Man Utd in the FA Cup final on Saturday

Left-backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia will also miss Saturday’s final at Wembley but United’s injury issues have eased in recent weeks, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane returning along with Marcus Rashford and captain Bruno Fernandes.

Victor Lindelof, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial were also pictured in training in the build-up to the final boosting Ten Hag’s options against rivals City.

“All the players you mentioned (Lindelof, Mount and Martial), are I think all available, Ten Hag added.

“Tomorrow final training and then we will make final decisions but if I oversee it now it looks good.”

Ten Hag: Rashford highly motivated

Despite his injury, Maguire was named in England’s 33-player long list for Euro 2024 by Man Utd team-mates Shaw and Kobbie Mainoo, but misfiring Marcus Rashford was overlooked for the finals in Germany.

The 26-year-old was the most eye-catching omission from Gareth Southgate’s squad and has the chance to react on a big stage at Wembley this weekend.

“He looks good and that is a career, ups and downs,” Ten Hag said.

“So, a down can also be fuel, that is what I see in training. He will be highly motivated. Speak with your feet, he is highly talented.

“He has already a big career and I am sure he will get over this and he will make even more goals.”

Does the final matter more to Ten Hag?

Analysis from Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:

Following one of the club’s worst league seasons in a generation it could be that the writing is already on the wall for Ten Hag after two years in the job, as new minority owners INEOS consider how best to take the club forward.

The United manager has overseen the club’s lowest Premier League finish as well as 14 league defeats and a first-ever negative goal difference, while defeat at Wembley will leave them facing just a second season since 1989/90 without European football.

Four victories in the final 13 games of the Premier League season, a run that included a calamitous 4-0 humbling by Crystal Palace early in May, was an indicator that progress under their Dutch coach has stalled, while even the manner in which they reached Saturday’s final – throwing away a 3-0 semi-final lead against Championship side Coventry and requiring penalties to edge through – drew harsh criticism.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag believes Marcus Rashford will be ‘highly motivated’ after the news he’d been left out of England’s provisional Euro 2024.

Ten Hag called the hostile media reception to the semi-final win “embarrassing”, but the assessment of United’s performance against the Sky Blues was a snapshot of a campaign in which they have consistently been accused of failing to exercise control over games.

There would be no shortage of candidates should Sir Jim Ratcliffe decide upon a change, with Mauricio Pochettino – who was considered for the job in 2022 before the appointment of Ten Hag – the latest name to become available following his departure from Chelsea.

Former Blues bosses Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter as well as England manager Gareth Southgate have also been linked, as has Kieran McKenna of Ipswich.

Ultimately the decision could come down to how much of United’s demise is deemed to be on Ten Hag’s shoulders and how much is the product of more structural problems outside of the manager’s control.

Man Utd will need the game of their lives

In the latest Merson Says, Paul Merson says that Man Utd would need “the game of their lives” to lift the FA Cup and explains why Erik ten Hag will already know his future…

“I can’t see anything but a Man City win in the FA Cup final. They’re head and shoulders above Man Utd.

“People will say Wigan beat Man City in the FA Cup, but this side’s a lot different. This is a one-off game, it depends how Man Utd play.

“If you turn up and play 10 behind the ball, and try to counter-attack, then get beaten 1-0 or 2-0, don’t have a shot like we did at Aston Villa vs Chelsea [in 2000], you come away and think, why didn’t we have a go? The manager set us up to make sure we didn’t get beaten.

“Man Utd have got to go and have a go. You do get your chances against Man City if you pick the right pass – don’t get me wrong, you get opened up a lot too – but you do get your chances.

“They need their players to really have the games of their lives to win this football match.”

Read Merson’s column in full here.


No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *