Irwin: It's great to see Ten Hag aiming for trophies
Manchester United legend Denis Irwin is pleased that Erik ten Hag is taking cup competitions seriously, with the Reds still competing on four fronts this term.
Irwin, who won seven Premier League titles, a Champions League, two FA Cups and a League Cup during his time as a Red, spoke to club media ahead of United’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Charlton Athletic.
Our former full-back explained that challenging for honours helps instil a winning mentality within the squad, which is fundamental to future success.
Irwin on the season so far
We asked club legend Denis Irwin for his thoughts on Ten Hag's impact, cup runs and our current full-backs...
“Absolutely,” said Denis, when asked whether he was pleased with Erik’s approach to cup competitions this season.
“You start the season and there are only four trophies to be won. It’s so hard to win a trophy and yeah, the Premier League is so, so important, I understand that.
“You see from the Carabao [Cup] and the Europa League, the manager doesn’t make that many changes and I’m delighted with that because I think winning a trophy or trying to win a trophy is so important.
“Going back to Sir Alex Ferguson’s era, his first trophy was an FA Cup, second was the Cup Winners’ Cup, third one the League Cup. So he won three cup competitions before actually getting the hands on the Premier League.
“You just get that winning feeling in the squad, that winning mentality, so it’s vital that we do compete in cup competitions. We’ve seen from the manager this year that he’s very intent on winning one of them.”
Achieving success this term is something which would benefit Ten Hag’s Reds hugely, says Irwin, but he maintains that our players must work hard to win our first trophy since the 2017 Europa League.
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The Reds return to action on Tuesday evening, taking on the Addicks for a place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
“It takes a little bit of pressure off when you do win a cup competition,” he said. “It also breeds confidence within that squad that you can actually win something.
“It’s been a few years now and we’re Manchester United. We’ve [got] no divine right to win trophies, we’ve got to go out and earn that right. It’s been a few years and we are making a massive effort to win something this year, but within that group of players, within that management and coaching staff, I think it’d be huge if we won something this year.
“We’re involved in a lot of games coming up, which is fantastic as a fan. I think we are getting closer and closer to winning trophies. I think the manager will no doubt be keeping his eye on the Premier League as well because you look at how many wins we’ve had in a row.
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Bruno Fernandes will be among United's absentees for Tuesday's Carabao Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.
“We’ve got some big games coming up against City and Arsenal and even after that, we’ve got ourselves into a great position. So you’ve got to take all that on board, but it’s great to see the manager trying to win a trophy, it really is.”
The Reds host Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford this evening (Tuesday 10 January) at 20:00 GMT. You can follow the action on ManUtd.com and in the United App.