Emirates FA Cup, Football

FA Cup final set to be Ten Hag’s last for United, or is it?

“We go for next season” is Erik ten Hag’s indication that he intends to stay at Manchester United, indicating that he has already had discussions about his future with the club’s management.

If United loses against Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup final, they won’t play in Europe the following season. Since the 1989–1990 season, this will only be United’s second failed attempt in a European tournament.

Ten Hag’s employment may not even be saved by a victory over Man City at Wembley, according to reports, but United will make a decision on him following the FA Cup final.

Asked if talks are planned for next week surrounding his future, Ten Hag said: “No, we already did that. Sunday, I go on holiday. I think I deserved it.”

Asked if he has been given assurances that he will remain in charge at Old Trafford next season, Ten Hag then said: “It’s not necessary. We go for next season.”

Since their £1.2 billion investment was finalised in December, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a new United investor, and Sir Dave Brailsford, the director of sport at INEOS, have had to make their first significant choice about Ten Hag’s future.

If Ten Hag were to depart the team, reports state that United would seek to meet with Kieran McKenna of Ipswich Town, Thomas Frank, the manager of Brentford, and former Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Additionally, it was disclosed this week that United had already communicated with McKenna’s agents through Jason Wilcox, the technical director, and Omar Berrada, the incoming chief executive.

“The club did not win so many trophies in the last 10 years, so now we have a second opportunity in two years. It is a big opportunity to win another trophy.”, said Ten Hag.

Ten Hag will be in his second FA Cup final as United’s manager on Saturday. He led the team to Wembley at this same time last year, but Manchester City defeated them 2-1.

As the Dutchman took over, United had made it to Wembley three times. Ten Hag was eager to preserve his domestic cup record at the club, especially because they are going through a “transition period.”

“I think it is the fact, it is the truth that this club is in a transition period,” said Ten Hag.

“We progressed many players to higher levels – some younger ones also came into the team and became internationals, also selected for Copa Americas for the Euros, which is very good.

“We want to improve the squad, we want to create a team for the future and in the meantime we want to win trophies. And again on Saturday we have another opportunity to win a big trophy. That is the third final in two years. I would say that is not too bad.

“Many forget this.

Ten Hag was also asked what he could achieve if he is able to build on the young nucleus of his squad with a few transfers over the summer.

“We are definitely competitive for top four,” he said. “But the competition, the Premier League, there are many teams in this moment who battle for the top four.

“But we are definitely in there. Also, we would have been this season – if the players would have been available. But that is biggest thing that has to change, that players over the course of the season are available.”

“Last season, you can’t change it anymore but when we analysed that match, we were better than them,” Ten Hag said.

“I have some data and on almost every occasion we were better than them – not in terms of possession, they were far better in possession, they had more possession. But all the other facts like getting into the final third, creating chances getting shots on target, every data we were better than them.

“Saturday we are going to have to suffer, sacrifice out of possession because they are good at it. We have to fight and be organised defensively, and if we can do that, we have an opportunity. We know they play at very high levels.

“We have to get up to those levels. We want to be the best. That is our target.”

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