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Erik ten Hag: Carabao Cup success vindicates stubbornness that saw him accept Manchester United job | Football News


Erik ten Hag says stubbornness saw him accept the Manchester United job despite knowing that the move “maybe was a risk”.

The Dutchman expressed his love for the club and desire to make his own history after guiding United to their first trophy in six years by beating Newcastle 2-0 in the Carabao Cup final, just seven months into his debut season after quickly turning their form around following a worrying start.

Ten Hag has had to make big decisions like the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and dropping club captain Harry Maguire from the starting XI, but he has changed the culture at the club and his switch from Ajax is already paying off.

“Maybe it was a risk [to take this job] but I am a little bit stubborn. I just love United,” he said. “When I see our shirts, when I see the boundary with the fans, when I see Old Trafford, when I see the legacy Sir Alex [Ferguson] left and so many big players that were developed in United teams it makes a big impression.

“We want to do the same, this team wants to make its own history and its own legacy. When this opportunity came I thought this was the right club for me.”

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup final between Manchester United and Newcastle at Wembley

United arrived at Wembley having lost just once in their previous 20 games, sitting third in the Premier League and still within sight of the title race. A midweek victory over Barcelona in the Europa League followed by cup success just three days later has proven United are firmly on the right track.

“Silverware shows you are on a good pathway, a good direction,” said Ten Hag. “It’s one cup and it’s February but it shows we are [going] in the right direction.

“This has to be the inspiration, the motivation to keep going on this pathway and improve. Be happy for 24 hours but not satisfied because that leads to laziness. When you become lazy you don’t win any more games and you can’t win trophies.”

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Erik Ten Hag was congratulated by Sir Alex Ferguson and co-owner Avram Glazer following their Carabao Cup victory over Newcastle

Ten Hag was pictured having dinner with Sir Alex Ferguson during the week while owner Avram Glazer attended the final, with both invited into the dressing room to join the post-match celebrations.

“He was really happy for the club as owner,” said Ten Hag. “He really wanted to be part of it, you could feel that when he was in the dressing room. Very good he was there, he had to show his intentions.

“The way that he was there shows that he’s committed about the process. What he wants is not for me [to say], I have to lead this team and others in the club are involved in the decisions about ownership.”

On the dinner with Ferguson, Ten Hag added: “It is a dinner which shows we are good and that he is really involved and committed to this club. We all can learn a lot from him and what he did for Man Utd. He is an inspiration for all of us.

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Ten Hag says the Man Utd players will be inspired to win more trophies after their Carabao Cup victory over Newcastle

“It’s an honour to share my thoughts, to talk about football, to talk about how he leads dressing rooms and teams and strategies etc. It is very good that he wants to share that not only with me but he wants to give that to Man Utd and we are very grateful for that.”

United are also still in the FA Cup and the potential for a quadruple remains although Ten Hag is solely focused on Wednesday’s tie with West Ham.

“It’s an opportunity, it is possible. This can be your inspiration but you need to believe in it,” he said on the possibility of lifting more silverware. “It is only going to come if you do the right things. If you work very hard, if you stick together then things are possible.

“But you have to go from game to game, you can’t look far ahead and dream because it will distract you. The focus has to be on the job. One hundred per cent focus is necessary to get the right results.”

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Ten Hag shares a joke with Roy Keane after the Dutchman was spotted celebrating Man Utd’s win with some dancing!

Ten Hag revealed the players would celebrate the cup victory on Sunday night and the boss himself hopes he can do some more dancing in the future after showing off his moves with Antony and Lisandro Martinez.

“We have history together, Licha (Martinez) and Antony in Amsterdam we did some dancing,” said Ten Hag. “I hope they can do it more in the future but therefore we have to sacrifice and suffer every day to win trophies.

“You have to let them celebrate these moments because it’s not business as usual, it’s not a common day, we won a trophy. This trophy means something, that’s the feeling I get here in the UK. We have won something, we have to celebrate that, but after that point you have to keep going.

“Wednesday is a big game and from our perspective every game is a big game. You can’t win when you’re not 100 per cent, we have to do everything to win this game.”

What’s next?

Manchester United now turn their attentions to the FA Cup, with West Ham visiting Old Trafford on Wednesday; kick-off 7.45pm. Erik ten Hag’s side then face another huge match on Sunday when they take on Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

Saturday 25th February 7:30pm

Newcastle’s next game is at champions Manchester City on Saturday; kick-off 12.30pm. Eddie Howe’s side then host Wolves on Sunday March 12, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

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