‘I’ll win trophies elsewhere,’ says Erik ten Hag as Manchester United sack talk lingers, Latest Football News - The New Paper

‘I’ll win trophies elsewhere,’ says Erik ten Hag as Manchester United sack talk lingers

LONDON – Erik ten Hag warned Manchester United’s owners that he will carry on winning trophies elsewhere, if they decide to sack him in the aftermath of the 2-1 FA Cup final victory over Manchester City on May 25.

The Dutchman went into the match rocked by reports that he would be dismissed, regardless of the result.

But United’s beleaguered manager made a convincing case to remain in charge as he outwitted City boss Pep Guardiola to deliver the second trophy of his turbulent two-year reign – following the League Cup last season.

Now ten Hag must wait to discover his fate after insisting he had not been told if he will be axed.

United’s minority shareholder Jim Ratcliffe and members of the Glazer family, who are the club’s owners, were present at Wembley to celebrate the team’s first FA Cup triumph since 2016.

But it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to save ten Hag after United finished eighth in the English Premier League – their lowest final position since 1990 – and crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage.

“When I started here, I said I’m here to win, also I want to build a team. Both I’m doing,” ten Hag said.

“If they don’t want me, I go anywhere else and do what I did my whole career, winning games and trophies.”

Asked if he had received any assurances that his job was secure, he added: “I don’t think about this. I’m in a project and we are where we want to be. We are constructing a team for the future.”

Shortly after the final, it was reported that United will conduct a post-season review this week, with ten Hag’s future on the agenda as well.

The club have been linked with former Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino, Brentford boss Thomas Frank, ex-Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel, England manager Gareth Southgate and Ipswich Town coach Kieran McKenna.

It would be a major disrespect from Ratcliffe and disregard for ten Hag should the manager be sacked right after his latest achievement – akin to how things worked in the past under the unpopular Glazer ownership.

Former manager Louis van Gaal was fired just two days after United’s 2-1 FA Cup win over Crystal Palace in 2016.

There were already signs of similarities with the Glazers when a journalist asked Ratcliffe if ten Hag’s job was safe, and the 71-year-old refused to say a word, while being quickly ushered away by his right-hand man Dave Brailsford.

The Glazer family had often ignored reporters and fans as well.

Ratcliffe also offered ten Hag just a handshake at the trophy presentation, while embracing opposition manager Guardiola and sharing a few words with the Spaniard.

The Briton, who has “sporting control”, must now decide what to do but beating a City team who clinched an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title was undoubtedly a feather in ten Hag’s cap.

The Dutchman, who ended United’s six-year trophy drought by winning the League Cup last season, is the first manager to win titles in successive campaigns since Alex Ferguson.

“The FA Cup was absolutely one on my bucket list. It is a huge trophy. I’m so happy we won,” ten Hag said.

“When I took over, it was a mess at United. Now the team is progressing. Two trophies is not bad, but I’m not satisfied.”

Guardiola had kind words for the 54-year-old, saying he is a “lovely person and an extraordinary manager”.

He also took the blame as his side were deprived of a second successive English double.

City’s 35-match unbeaten run in all competitions in open play ended as first-half goals by teenagers Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo proved enough for United, despite Jeremy Doku pulling one back late on.

“I think my game plan was not good,” said Guardiola.

“The second half was much better. We were more intense, in part because we were 2-0 down and had nothing to lose. Disappointed but it’s normal teams can lose finals.

“We will rest and come back next season.” – AFP, REUTERS

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