Manchester United reporter’s notebook: the final result of the FA Cup will not influence the decision on the future of Erik ten Hag | football news

Manchester United reporter’s notebook: the final result of the FA Cup will not influence the decision on the future of Erik ten Hag |  football news

About 11 miles separate Manchester United’s Carrington base from the Etihad Campus, but the conversation and atmosphere at those two venues couldn’t be further apart ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final.

While Manchester City players were bewildered at the prospect of making more history by achieving the ‘Double Double’, Erik ten Hag had to answer what his message would be to those who believe the trip to Wembley will be his last commitment as United manager . .

The Premier League champions head into the showdown without distractions and with unwavering certainty about their purpose. Meanwhile, their opponents do not know if their coach from Saturday will remain that way on Sunday or if one of the different groups of Mauricio Pochettino, Kieran McKenna, Thomas Tuchel or Thomas Frank will be their new boss.

That list, I am told, is incomplete and United have been prompted to fine-tune their succession plans due to the situation at Chelsea, who are now in the market for many of the same options.

Ten Hag’s future has felt bigger than the final itself, largely because the club has allowed speculation to mount for months.

United insist no decision has been made yet and the FA Cup final will not influence their thinking after carrying out a comprehensive review, led by Sir Dave Brailsford and then Jason Wilcox, of the club’s two seasons. Have Hag in charge.

It is not necessary to excel at reading between the lines to know that if INEOS were specific in wanting to retain him, they would have already communicated that, at least even privately, to the man himself.

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Sky Sports Melissa Reddy says Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag’s future was the ‘definitive topic’ in her FA Cup final press conference

Instead, Ten Hag has been delivering messages through his media engagements. His pre-fight press conference on Saturday was an opportunity to remember the positive aspects of his project, mainly: a trophy and two more finals in two seasons.

This followed calls for common sense and the assertion that anyone who really knows football will recognize why United have been struggling given their injury crisis.

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Erik ten Hag is only concerned about the job he has left to do in the FA Cup final, as rumors over his future at the club are addressed

Ten Hag has been publicly defiant. Asked if the final home game of the season was his farewell to Old Trafford, he replied: “That’s not how I feel or see it.” He took the microphone after that match, a victory over Newcastle, to promise fans that the team would give everything to win the FA Cup. Last month he “had no doubt” he would continue in office.

Manchester United's injured Harry Maguire is replaced
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire ruled out of FA Cup final

Ten Hag has repeatedly stated that he does not need guarantees from INEOS. He has stood tall, he has seemed confident.

Privately, it has been exhausting. Several employees feel that the burden of having to discuss their future every few days has consumed unnecessary energy.

Some have noticed his change in tone this week, a little more emotion and reflection coloring his words.

Ten Hag does not know whether he will be allowed to continue with his project, and there is a feeling that, regardless of what happens at Wembley, the INEOS-shaped operational structure at United already has its next steps in mind.

Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his team's second goal from a penalty.
Marcus Rashford could play for Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday

Questions about why there has been no public direction from the hierarchy can be explained by financial complications (the cost of firing and hiring), the lack of certainty over a replacement yet and the current dispute with Newcastle over the sporting director in functions. waiting for Dan Ashworth.

It is recognized that whatever the club does, it needs the acceptance of its fans.

There has been a lot of analysis in these pages about Ten Hag’s time in charge of United. It is worth remembering, to draw conclusions, that he had the opportunity, in the midst of uncertainty, to secure his future with his signing for Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

Ten Hag: Rashford very motivated

Despite his injury, Maguire was included in England’s long list of 33 players for Euro 2024 by his Man Utd teammates Shaw and Kobbie Mainoo, but failed. Mark Rashford was ignored in the final tournament in Germany.

The 26-year-old was the most striking omission from Gareth Southgate’s squad and has the chance to react on a big stage at Wembley this weekend.

“It looks good and that’s a race, up and down,” Ten Hag said.

“So, a fall can also be fuel, that’s what I see in training. You will be very motivated. He speaks with his feet, he is very talented.

“He already has a great career and I’m sure he will surpass it and score even more goals.”

Had he decided to meet with them and commit directly to the job, sources in Germany say it would have been his. Instead, through his representatives, Ten Hag made it clear that his goal was to finish the campaign strongly with United and plan for the FA Cup final. Bayern could not and did not want to wait.

Regardless of how his story with United ends, as an antithesis to many who have been involved in the last decade, Ten Hag cannot be accused of not caring or trying hard enough.

Does the final matter more to Ten Hag?

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The Telegraph’s chief football correspondent Jason Burt and The Sun’s football editor join Sky Sports’ David Garrido to discuss who will be the managers of Manchester United, Brighton and Chelsea next season.

Sky Sports Ben Grounds Analysis:

After one of the club’s worst league seasons in a generation, the writing could already be on the wall for Ten Hag after two years in the job, as new minority owners INEOS consider the best way to take the club forward.

The United manager has overseen the club’s lowest Premier League finish, as well as 14 league defeats and a negative first goal difference, while defeat at Wembley will leave them facing just a second season since 1989/90 without European football.

Four wins in the final 13 games of the Premier League season, a run that included a calamitous 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in early May, was an indicator that progress under their Dutch manager was has stagnated, while even the manner in which they reached Saturday’s final, in which they squandered a 3-0 semi-final lead against Championship side Coventry and required penalties to progress, drew harsh criticism.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes Marcus Rashford will be “very motivated” following the news that he had been left out of England’s provisional Euro 2024 championship.

Man Utd will need the game of their lives

In the latest Merson Says, Paul Merson says Manchester United would need “the game of their lives” to lift the FA Cup and explains why Erik ten Hag will already know his future…

“I don’t see anything other than a victory for Manchester City in the FA Cup final. They are way above Manchester United.

“People will say that Wigan beat Manchester City in the FA Cup, but this team is very different. This is a unique game, it depends on how Manchester United play.

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Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett reports that Manchester United officials have met with representatives of Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna.

“If you turn up and play 10 behind the ball, and try to counter-attack, and then you get beaten 1-0 or 2-0, you don’t have a shot like we did at Aston Villa vs Chelsea (in 2000), Go out and think, why Why didn’t we try? The manager set up a trap for us to make sure we didn’t get defeated.

“Man Utd have to go and prove it. You have chances against Man City if you choose the right pass – don’t get me wrong, you open yourself up a lot too, but you have chances.”

“They need their players to really have the games of their lives to win this football game.”

Read Merson’s full column here.