Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has warned his team that failing to defeat Newcastle in the EFL Cup final on February 26 will make their participation at Wembley on March 1 meaningless.
Anthony Martial and Fred both scored in the second half as United defeated Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford 5-0 overall.
With a victory, United will break their six-year trophy drought and make their first domestic final participation since 2018.
Jadon Sancho, a £73 million acquisition from Borussia Dortmund in 2021, made his three-month comeback during the game, and Anthony Martial scored after returning from injury.
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It’s all about winning,
Ten Hag has led Man Utd to fourth position in the Premier League and they are still in the FA Cup, Europa League, and EFL Cup. Ten Hag won the Dutch (KNVB) Cup twice while managing Ajax and once as a player with Twente.
Although it’s fantastic, you play finals to win. “We want to win them but first we have other things to do. It is not an accomplishment to get to a final,” he said on BBC Radio 5 Live. We bury this cup when we return to the Premier League.
“While making it to the final is an accomplishment, the real goal is to win.
“The Premier League is the current topic of discussion; it will continue in two days. In order to carry the cup to the supporters, it must first provide motivation.
“But for now, I’m not thinking ahead; we’re concentrating on other things. A huge week is coming up; we have Crystal Palace and then two games against Leeds, and they will be fantastic games; derby games that we are looking forward to.”
Luke Shaw, a full-back for England who recently made his starting lineup comeback, shared his sentiments.
Shaw told Sky Sports, “It’s really satisfying, but there’s no sense going to a final if we don’t win it.
As his team continues its pursuit of a top-four finish, Ten Hag added that he couldn’t worry about Newcastle with six Premier League and Europa League games remaining before the final.
The Dutchman has pointed out that United will have less than three full days before their Europa League last-32 decider against Barcelona, while Eddie Howe’s team will have one game per week in February and an eight-day gap between their Premier League match with Liverpool at St. James’ Park and the final, a rematch of the 1999 FA Cup final.
Newcastle clearly has an advantage, but it all comes down to attitude and mentality, he added. “I know how to handle that,” he said. “I handled it before, playing a cup game after we play in Europe.”
Jadon Sancho of Manchester United believes he can resume performing at his peak.
For the first time since October, Jadon Sancho entered the game as a second-half substitute. When he was introduced, he received a roaring applause.
The 22-year-old hasn’t played since October 22, when Ten Hag decided to remove him from the pressures of playing for United’s first squad after noticing physical and emotional problems he thought needed to be addressed.
Sancho has had to be persistent in waiting for his time, even after returning from a period spent training with personal instructors Ten Hag is familiar with in the Netherlands.
It was clear how much the United supporters wanted him to succeed from their raucous receptions before and after the game, when he was introduced for Antony.
Sancho’s enthusiastic embrace with Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper, whom he had not seen since the Under-17 World Cup victory with England in 2017, demonstrated that the good vibes spread beyond Old Trafford.
We talk fairly frequently, but seeing him was nice, Cooper added.
Rene Meulensteen, a former United assistant manager, said on BBC Radio Five Live that Ten Hag was correct to take his time reintegrating Sancho.
He said that removing him from the firing line would help him to think more clearly. “I am a fervent believer that everything follows the mind.
“Now that the squad is more secure, his teammates can support him. United supporters will learn more about Sancho if he takes it easy and returns to form.
“I think it was amazing that the fans showed him affection,” Ten Hag continued. He seemed to love being back on the field.
In Carrington for the past few weeks, he has been grinning. I’m hoping he can continue this approach and, of course, make a significant contribution to the season.
“A great matchup awaits”
James McFadden, a former Scotland striker, on BBC Radio 5 Live: McFadden:
Although the League Cup has been criticized in recent years for not being a significant trophy, for both teams and the advancement they are seeking, this is a huge prize to win. It highlights the point that both managers are attempting to make regarding where they want to go.
You can’t win league championships right away, so you have to start someplace. In order to instill a winning attitude among the players and throughout the organization, they need to create a positive atmosphere.
The game, in my opinion, will be unique. Two clubs that are eager to play football are involved; their sides are extremely well balanced and they have exciting attacking players. I split it 50/50.