Get back to work, ten Hag tells his League Cup champions
LONDON – Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has demanded that his players “get back to work” as he prepares for an FA Cup fifth-round home clash against West Ham on Wednesday.
The Red Devils beat Newcastle 2-0 in the League Cup final on Sunday to win their first trophy in six years, and have adopted a “no days off” philosophy as they turn their attention to the FA Cup.
The team have had little time to celebrate their Cup success, or take a day’s rest, as they were back in training on Monday afternoon to prepare for West Ham’s visit.
When asked on Tuesday if United had celebrated their triumph away from the Wembley pitch, ten Hag said: “No. Nothing beyond, eh? Get back to work.
“Yesterday, the players were enthusiastic and they had to celebrate the momentum. But soon after that we settled down and got back to work. It was about recovery.”
After finishing a dismal sixth in the Premier League last season, United have been transformed by ten Hag, with the potential for further silverware this season.
As well as their FA Cup tie, United face Real Betis in the Europa League last 16 in March and sit third in the Premier League.
Ten Hag confirmed that Anthony Martial is still unavailable, while Luke Shaw and Fred are doubts for Wednesday. In-form forward Marcus Rashford could be rested after playing in the League Cup final with an injury.
The United boss may also look to rotate his squad with an eye on this Sunday’s Premier League clash at Liverpool, although he insisted he is not focusing on that yet.
“I think every game is important,” he added.
“You said it’s (Liverpool) the biggest game, but is Barcelona (Europa League win) not a big game? Game by game.”
Part of United’s success so far this season is because the players have bought into ten Hag’s methods.
Shaw said that the team are happy to endure such a hectic schedule as they want to win more titles.
“Of course the (West Ham) game is really big on Wednesday. It’s a competition that we want to look to win. I think that’s why we’re in today. There’s no days off,” he said on Monday.
“There weren’t really many celebrations last night, so I think full focus after that was just to make sure that we come in today and prepare for the game.”
As for West Ham, Vladimir Coufal and Lukasz Fabianski are doubts while Kurt Zouma and Maxwel Cornet are not fully fit.
“Going to Old Trafford is always a really difficult game,” said Hammers boss David Moyes.
“But let’s go out and try and win this one.” - AFP