Erik ten Hag delivers five-word verdict on sack; confirms FA Cup final injury blow

Erik ten Hag insisted his focus was on winning the FA Cup as he shut down talk of the final being his last match as Manchester United head coach.

The Red Devils are looking to salvage a poor, injury-hit campaign by beating arch-rivals Manchester City – who are looking to do the league and cup double – at Wembley on Saturday.

“I have nothing to say…”

United exited of Europe before Christmas, limped home in eighth place – their lowest-ever Premier League finish – and speculation continues to grow about Ten Hag’s future.

Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel and Kieran McKenna are among the names being linked with the Old Trafford hot seat as Ineos considers how to take the club back to the top.

Put to Ten Hag that it has been suggested this weekend’s final could be his last match as United manager, the Dutchman chuckled and said: “I have nothing to say.

“I am just focusing on the job I have to do and that is first win the game on Saturday and then we are in the project. Keep going in the project.”

Pushed on how he wants his time at United to be judged, Ten Hag added: “I came here to win trophies.

“Saturday I have the next opportunity and we earned this opportunity as a team and now we have to go for it.

“At the same time, in the last two years, of course after every season you review it and then we will see where we are in the project and things we have to change.

“We spoke lately about it. Underneath there are very good things – players coming up, players developing, values coming up.

“And, at the same time, we have on Saturday a big opportunity to win the next trophy.”

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United’s injury issues have eased ahead of the final, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane returning recently along with Marcus Rashford and captain Bruno Fernandes.

Victor Lindelof, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial have trained in the build-up to the final, but Harry Maguire will miss out along with left-backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.

“Harry Maguire is unavailable, but the rest, all the players you mentioned (Lindelof, Mount and Martial), are I think all available,” Ten Hag said.

“Tomorrow final training and then we will make final decisions, but if I oversee it now it looks good.”

Maguire sustained a muscle injury in training at the start of the May and was expected to be out for three weeks.

Asked if the defender, who has been named in England’s provisional Euro 2024 squad, had suffered a setback, Ten Hag said: “I don’t think so, no. It’s just he didn’t make it, didn’t heal as we expected.”

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Maguire was joined in England’s 33-man long list by United team-mates Shaw and 19-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, but misfiring Marcus Rashford was overlooked for the finals in Germany.

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

“He looks good and that is a career, ups and downs,” Ten Hag said.

“So, a down can also be fuel, that is what I see in training. He will be highly motivated. Speak with your feet, he is highly talented.

“He has already a big career and I am sure he will get over this and he will make even more goals.”


 

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