• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Ten Hag’s Man United future uncertain despite winning FA Cup

Erik-ten-Hag-FA-Cup

Despite leading Manchester United to win the FA Cup final against Manchester City, former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has admitted uncertainty about his future at Old Trafford.

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo scored in the first half, securing a 2-1 win despite a late goal from City’s Jeremy Doku.

This victory allowed Man United to finish a challenging season on a high note and secure qualification for next season’s Europa League. However, the build-up to the match was overshadowed by reports that United’s new co-owner, Jim Ratcliffe, planned to sack Ten Hag regardless of the result.

Man United finished eighth in the Premier League, their lowest since 1990, and were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage.

As fans celebrated, Ten Hag, holding the FA Cup, waved to them in what some speculated might be a farewell gesture. Reflecting on his tenure, Ten Hag said, “I don’t know if I will stay,” Ten Hag said in his postmatch conference.

“My focus has been on preparing and developing the team. When I arrived, things were a mess.

“We’ve improved, but we’re not yet where we want to be. Football is about winning trophies, and while I aim for dynamic football, ultimately, trophies are the measure of success. I’m very proud of the players and staff for their incredible work.”

Ratcliffe, whose INEOS Group now manages football operations at Old Trafford, praised the team but did not comment on Ten Hag’s future.

“Winning the FA Cup at Wembley is glorious. Manchester United were not the favourites today, but they showed total commitment and skill to overcome one of football’s great teams. We are all very proud of the players and staff,” he said.

Ten Hag, 54, highlighted the team’s potential when key players are fit, following an injury-plagued season.

“When the players are fit, we can play good football. Today was a very good performance against the best team in the world. Rivalries matter, but for us, it was about proving a point after many setbacks. The team showed resilience, and I’m proud of them.”

The former Ajax manager also addressed the criticism he and the team faced.

“We didn’t always have the players available to play the football we wanted. I’ve had a full squad maybe three or four times in two years. Even today, we missed key players like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, and Casemiro.”

However, United captain Bruno Fernandes voiced support for Ten Hag, saying, “This victory is crucial. The manager has been under intense scrutiny, and he deserves this. So do the backroom staff and the players.”