‘Win games and win prizes’ – Ten Hag reveals Man Utd aspirations amid great run

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United, January 2023 Credit: Alamy
Erik ten Hag, Manchester United, January 2023 Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag thinks Manchester United have the players to “win games and win prizes” after a win in the FA Cup prolonged their great run.

In recent seasons, United’s success in the FA Cup has been mixed. In three of the last five years, they have made it at least to the quarter finals, with the best run in that stretch when they made it to the final in 2017/18.

The other two of those five seasons saw the Red Devils underachieve, though. The season after Chelsea beat them 1-0 in the final, they bowed out in the sixth round against Wolves.

It was last term which saw United’s most embarrassing early exit of late. They were stunned as Championship side Middlesbrough held them to a 1-1 draw before putting them out on penalties, in just the fourth round.

Ten Hag will have been keen not to follow that embarrassment up with another early exit in his first season. Given United had form on their side – wins in each of their last six games – avoiding a tough result looked likely.

Antony got the Red Devils off on the right foot when he slotted home the opener in the fourth minute. Everton levelled just 10 minutes after though, when a moment of madness from David de Gea offered Conor Coady a tap in.

Coady turned from scourge to blessing for United early in the second half though, as the managed to put the ball in his own net.

In-form Marcus Rashford polished off United’s win with a penalty in stoppage time – the 3-1 scoreline extending both United’s winning run and getting their cup run off the ground.

Ten Hag aspires to ‘win prizes’ with United

Ten Hag clearly has his side playing very good football amid their good run. As such, it is no surprise that he thinks the team can keep that going in order to win some silverware this season.

“I know Manchester United are always aiming for trophies and we are going for that,” he said via BBC Sport.

“I think we will have that, we can fight and fight back if necessary. We can act and stay composed so we have resilience. We have good skills in the team to win games and win prizes.”

While the goal is clear, Ten Hag knows there is a long road to get there, and hard work needs to continue for it to be a reality.

“We cannot force this and have to focus on the next game, not focus on trophies, that is far away. We have to work on the team and development,” he added.

Rashford was less subtle in his assessment of the situation this season: “We want to be in finals and the biggest games. Ultimately, we want to win silverware and a trophy. Hopefully this season we get a chance to do that,” he said.

Ten Hag ‘convinced’ Rashford can maintain form

It was Rashford who was one again one of the stars of the show for United. His goal meant he has now scored in five successive games, and is up to 13 goals for the season.

His manager feels that is a run that will continue if the forward keeps working.

“He is in good form and on a good run, keep it going. If he keeps focus, concentration and the good work,” Ten Hag said.

“If he keeps investing in training and games, I am convinced he can keep it going.”

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