• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ten Hag eyes FA Cup glory after Liverpool defeat

Erik-ten-Hag (1)

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United‘s 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Liverpool can be the turning point for a successful end for the Red Devils.

United’s final chance at silverware this season appeared to be slipping away at Old Trafford on Sunday as twice the home side needed to come from behind late on to end Liverpool’s chances of a quadruple in Jurgen Klopp’s final season.

Amad Diallo’s breakaway goal in added time of extra-time won a chaotic tie in the 121st minute and could prove to be a turning point in Ten Hag’s reign.

United are now huge favourites to reach the FA Cup final for a second consecutive season after being paired with Championship side Coventry in the last four.

The Dutchman has been under pressure following a poor season campaign that saw Man United sit sixth in the Premier League, nine points adrift of even a place in the top four and exited both the Champions League and League Cup early.

But the former Ajax boss believes his side are on an upward trajectory having lost just twice in 12 games in 2024.

“This could be that moment, the team have the belief and energy to do amazing things,” said Ten Hag.

“When you beat Liverpool you can beat any opponent.”

United’s young guns came to the fore as Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo shone before Diallo came off the bench to score just his second-ever goal for the club.

“The first 35 minutes show again that the future of this team is very bright. There is huge potential. We have to get it out and get consistency.”

United sped out of the blocks and were rewarded when Scott McTominay tapped home his ninth goal of the season after Garnacho was denied by Caoimhin Kelleher.

Defeat was just Liverpool’s fifth in all competitions this season, two of which came with weakened sides in the group stages of the Europa League.

Klopp admitted his side showed the first signs of fatigue from a draining schedule, but they did not go down without a fight.

Two goals in three minutes towards the end of the first half turned the tie in the visitors’ favour as Alexis Mac Allister blasted past Andre Onana before Mohamed Salah struck for the 13th time in 14 games against United.

United’s challenge was petering out meekly until Antony came off the bench to score at Old Trafford for the first time in over a year when he found the far corner three minutes from time.

“You see he is fighting as well and wants to contribute,” added Ten Hag, who has been heavily criticised for spending £86 million ($110 million) on the Brazilian winger.

Antony’s equaliser set the fuse for a frantic finale as Liverpool hit the post through Harvey Elliott before Marcus Rashford missed a glorious chance even before extra-time.

Elliott’s deflected effort put Liverpool back in front in the 105th minute, but Rashford made amends by drilling home to level at 3-3.

And just as Liverpool sensed the chance to win it from a corner at the death, Garnacho broke clear and teed up Diallo to score his first United goal in three years.