Ten Hag satisfied with United’s season
Erik ten Hag was proud of the way Manchester United pushed our derby rivals all the way in the Emirates FA Cup final, and reflected on a hugely positive season as a whole for his side.
The Reds responded well to the shock of conceding the fastest-ever goal in the FA Cup final, with Bruno Fernandes’ penalty cancelling out Ilkay Gundogan’s first-minute opener.
But Gundogan scored again early in the second period and, despite late pressure from United at Wembley, it was Manchester City who claimed the silverware.
Ten Hag's side may have come up just short in our bid to complete a domestic-cup double, but the boss remained positive after our 62nd game of the campaign.
Here are the key quotes from his post-match press conference and interviews with MUTV, BBC and ITV…
WE SHOWED OUR MENTALITY AGAIN
'"First of all I want to congratulate City with the win of the FA Cup. We were very competitive and had some very good organisation. We were hard to beat and didn’t allow much open play against the best team in the world at the moment.
"We fought back from a [going] quick goal down and we are maybe the only team in the world who are capable of fighting back against City. It’s hard when you concede a goal so quickly but you see once again, the mentality and character of this team is very good. We stayed calm.
"We could have done better in possession, I know. But that is also the next step we have to make. But I don't think today is the day we expect criticism because we played a great game and [it has been] a fantastic season.
"We had our opportunities with [Alejandro] Garnacho, with [Marcus] Rashford's shot, in the end with two headers. So we had our opportunities to get the equaliser. We did everything we could and I was happy with the performance of my team."
TWO SOFT GOALS
[On our penalty award] "They are the rules – it may have been a soft goal but we also conceded two really soft goals. One was from a dead ball – the kick-off – and the other was from a free-kick.
"We win together, we lose together but we have to be better organised. It will be one of the lessons. As a team we didn't do the jobs that we had to do. If you want to win trophies, in the big games the details make a difference. It's hard to accept but we have to."
"If you consider that before today, we and City had 42 wins, the difference was made today. You can tell we played a fantastic season. We have qualified for the Champions League, won a trophy and got to another final so I am very happy with the performance from my team."
WE’LL USE DEFEAT AS FUEL
"First of all, we show respect always. Of course it is a motivation: you have to feel in your stomach that it hurts and it has to be fuel. We want to be there, my team – my players deserve it and we have to grab it. That is the next step we have to make.
"I said to the players, I was very proud of my team, not only today, but today, especially how they fought, how they stuck together, how they were disciplined in the defending organisation. That was brilliant."
"It’s about finalising the season. We have to be quiet, analyse the season, go into depth and then set the right conclusions and take action. Of course, during the season we continually are making considerations and some actions are in process. Now the season is finished and the conclusion is that we played a brilliant season.
"'It is not about the gap in the summer, or getting players in; we have been working all season and we have been working day-by-day to develop and progress the team. I am very proud of where we have came from at the start of the season, from [heavy defeats at] Brentford and at the Etihad. During the season, we had some bad defeats, City and Liverpool away. We showed today that the win against City at home was not a coincidence.
"I have only one plan. That is to improve this club and improve this team. I will fight for it, I have my ideas and I have told the club what we have to do for that but I have to work with my staff and my players to be better for next season.
"We are in the right direction but there are issues in the game that we have to improve if we want to make the next step, to win trophies."