MANCHESTER (Feb 2): Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said winning trophies is the standard that should be demanded at Old Trafford after beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 on Wednesday and 5-0 on aggregate to reach the League Cup final.
Anthony Martial and Fred scored the goals for Ten Hag’s men in the final 17 minutes of the semi-final, second leg as United set up a meeting with Newcastle at Wembley on Feb 26.
Three managers have left the club since United last won a trophy under Jose Mourinho in 2017.
But Ten Hag is now just one game away from ending that drought in his first season in charge.
“I think we have a good squad so we have to demand and control the high standards,” said the Dutchman. “You have to bring that every game.
“We are Manchester United. When you are a United player you have to match the standards.”
The damage was done for the Red Devils in last week’s 3-0 win at the City Ground in the first leg as Ten Hag was able to rotate his squad with United still involved in four competitions.
He made six changes from the side that beat Reading 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday with Marcus Rashford among those left on the bench.
Wout Weghorst came closest to breaking the deadlock before half-time when the giant Dutch striker’s header came back off the post, but the game opened up once Ten Hag made changes on the hour mark.
The former Ajax boss was handed a limited budget in the January transfer window after spending over £200 million (US$247 million) in the summer with just the loan signings of Weghorst, Marcel Sabitzer, and Jack Butland.
But the return of Jadon Sancho comes at just the right time to bolster United’s attacking options.
The England international had been sidelined since October due to a combination of mental and physical issues, but made his return just after the hour mark.
Rashford and Martial were introduced alongside Sancho and made an instant impact.
“We have had to make lots of compromises in the season so far so hopefully now they are all available,” added Ten Hag. “If you want to win trophies, you need them all to be available. You saw tonight you can bring a new dynamic off the bench.”
Martial slotted home after Rashford’s initial effort was blocked to open the scoring.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 as this time Rashford teed up Fred for the simplest of finishes into an empty net.
A much tougher test awaits in high-flying Newcastle, but defender Luke Shaw believes United are on the march towards silverware under Ten Hag.
“It’s extremely pleasing but there’s no point going to a final if we don’t win it. It’s where we want to be,” said the England international.
“We want to get this club back to where it should be which is winning trophies. Newcastle are an extremely good team but it’s a big moment for us in where we want to go.” — AFP