We have to do everything to give fans a trophy – Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United must “do everything” to repay the “best fans in the world” by lifting the FA Cup after his club suffered their worst Premier League finish.

The 20-time English champions signed off a dismal top-flight campaign with a 2-0 win at Brighton but finished in eighth place – their lowest final position since coming 13th in the old first division under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1990.

Qualification for Europe next season – and potentially the future of under-fire manager Ten Hag – is now reliant on beating rivals Manchester City in next weekend’s Wembley final.

The Dutchman thanked United’s supporters for their backing during a difficult period after late goals from Diogo Dalot and substitute Rasmus Hojlund ruined Roberto De Zerbi’s final match as Seagulls boss.

“We have the best fans in the world and I mean this,” said Ten Hag, whose team have endured an injury-hit season.

“I have never had this experience when you have a season like us, which is by far not good enough, that the supporters are with us.

“They are with us in the bad season and in bad times they are there.

“I think also they know why the bad times are there.

“But we have to pay them back and we have to do everything to give them a trophy next week – but also for the future, we have to perform better.”

While neighbours City were busy being crowned champions for an unprecedented fourth time in a row, United overcame a poor first-half display to avoid setting a new record for the club’s lowest Premier League points tally.

Yet Ten Hag’s men still finished a difficult campaign which brought 14 top-flight defeats with a negative goal difference.

Bruno Fernandes began the match as a false nine before Hojlund made a key impact from the bench after Valentin Barco and Joao Pedro failed to capitalise on the best of Brighton’s chances.

Denmark international Hojlund has hit 16 goals in his debut season, including 10 in the league, following his big-money move from Atalanta, with Ten Hag hoping that tally increases at the national stadium in six days’ time.

“It could always be better but don’t forget he had three injuries this season,” the former Ajax coach said of the 21-year-old’s contribution.

“He came in with the injury, missed the start, then he got injured before winter and then he got injured after winter.

“So every time that broke his rhythm and if you then shoot 16 goals for the first season it’s OK. And it’s not over, we have to play the FA Cup final.”

Following a series of fitness setbacks among this squad this term, Ten Hag believes he now has a positive selection headache as he contemplates his cup final line-up.

Centre-back Lisandro Martinez made his first start since early February on the south coast, while Raphael Varane returned to action as a substitute following more than six weeks out.

“I would say the manager and the coaching team have luxury problems, which is good,” said Ten Hag.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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