Erik ten Hag danced with delight as Manchester United ended a six-year trophy by beating Newcastle 2-0 at Wembley to win the Carabao Cup. prompted him to become a manager.
Casemiro’s header and Sven Botman’s own goal, both in the first half, put United over the distance to a Europa League triumph in 2017 and gave Ten Hag his first major trophy in his tenure. Amid the jubilant scenes after the final whistle, the manager played with Antony and Lisandro Martínez, doing the same when the former Ajax coach won trophies with the same players at the Dutch club.
Ten Hag was quick to oversee a turnaround for United after they finished sixth last season. He was asked if being a manager was a gamble. “Maybe it was a risk but I’m stubborn and I just love United so when I see our shirts the bond with the fans when I see Old Trafford a legacy like Sir Alex (Ferguson) is gone and how many great players have been developed in a United shirt and we want to do the same,” he said.
“This team wants to create its own history and when the opportunity came, I thought it was the right club for me and that I wanted to be a part of it.”
The Dutchman wants winning to become like a drug for his players. “Of course, we not only hope (that it will), but we know that we have to work to invest, suffer and sacrifice, and we know that we have to give our best every day,” he said. “It’s about glory and honor and if you want to prove something and win something, you have to do it because nobody brings you anything in top football.
“You have to win the first (trophy) and that’s what we did today. You can get inspiration from it, but also more confidence.
We are still at the beginning of (the process of) getting Man United back where they belong. We showed the right spirit – we fought and gave it our all as a team. It wasn’t always the best football, but it was effective. There is hunger and lust for trophies.
Ten Hag said of his dance with Antony and Martínez: “We have a history of this, I hope we can do it more often. It’s champagne for the manager and staff (but) we’ll give the players a rest, they have an important game on Wednesday. This is West Ham’s visit to the FA Cup.
Ten Hag pointed to a collective effort. “I just want to win. We’ve been investing in the staff since the beginning of the season – I want to say they’ve done an amazing job – and the staff and players are together,” he said.
“They (the players) are really good as a team. Plus, they challenge each other, which has to happen. It’s a good wardrobe. When it’s hard, they help each other. It’s great to see that and I think it’s the best a manager can get.
United fans sang “We want the Glazers out” about the club’s owners, one of whom, Avram Glazer, was at Wembley. Ten Hag said: “He was really happy for the club as a holder, he really wanted to be part of it, you feel it was very good that he was in the dressing room to show his intentions.”
The Americans put the club up for sale, but Ten Hag has no idea about the process. “I don’t know, I’m not involved. The fact that he is here shows his commitment. What he wants is not for me. I have to run this dressing room and others are involved.
Eddie Howe was disappointed but pleased with his players. “I’m proud of the players,” said the Newcastle manager. “We were really good at both courses, but there are games in the fields where you win and you lose. Defensively, we didn’t get the important moments and we weren’t clinical enough.
“We are desperately disappointed but desperate to come back here and win a trophy. It hurts to see disappointed fans.