Ten Hag keeps his eyes on the prize
Erik ten Hag says there is no point reaching finals unless you win them after steering Manchester United into the big Carabao Cup date with Newcastle United.
The Reds completed a 5-0 aggregate victory over Nottingham Forest in the semi-finals to set up a day in the capital on Sunday 26 February.
Anthony Martial and Fred scored the goals in the second half to end any doubts over our progress in the competition.
Yet the boss was not completely happy, as he explained to MUTV, Sky Sports, Radio 5 Live and Talksport afterwards...
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"When you win this round, the semi-final and go to the final, it's okay. The first half wasn't great, I will be honest. I think it was professional how we played, but the tempo was too low, too slow and we didn't create chances. We allowed them two good chances and that must not happen. But I think the second half was better. More tempo and also I think we made some good goals. There were more movements and to win 5-0 over two legs, it's okay."
ANY FRUSTRATION IN FIRST HALF?
“Frustrated, that is a big word. I think when you play such games, you have to be a little smart and don’t go and they set up a trap. Don’t dive in, don’t give anything away because you know, at certain points, they have to come and they will want to come back in the game. So, keep the ball, keep passing around. Which is what we had to do, and we should have done more movements. Movements behind like quick switches, things like that. And we didn’t create that. I think we needed the impact from the bench today. Also, the first 15 minutes after half-time, the tempo was higher and we created some chances. It was definitely a penalty with Wout [Weghorst]. What's true is the subs came on with a different dynamic, also bringing Bruno [Fernandes] out to the right, a different dynamic making it difficult for an opponent to defend.”
"I thought it was great, the fans they gave him love and I think he enjoyed it. He enjoyed it, to be back on the pitch. I've seen in the last couple of weeks at Carrington smiling and I hope he can keep the process going and have a huge contribution to the season. With Jadon, I know he can play as a no.10 as well, he can play as a winger, he can play as a no.10. But I think we mix it around often and that is what I like. But the position has to be occupied, it is about that. And players have to keep the discipline to do that, otherwise it is going to be a mess."
"It's an advantage. You can improve from game to game. You can have a lot you can give the players feedback on. We set the standards and work on improvements and we can really show the players where we have to improve and bring it to the next game. This [the fixture list] is a luxury problem but it is how we want it. Also, I think it is normal for a club like Manchester United to play every third day and we have to deal with that. But we are looking forward. Most players are more keen on playing games, better than training. So, for us, we have to make every next game a better game than the previous one."
Talking points: United 2 Forest 0Article
Manchester United are Wembley bound after beating Forest in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
INTIMIDATING OLD TRAFFORD
"So it must be. It has to be a fortress but we have to acknowledge and also to see that we have to work really hard for that. Every time, every game, we make an investment. One hundred per cent focused, 100 per cent energy. You have to deliver if you want to have the win. Now we have to do the same for Saturday and the next home game coming up."
ON TO THE FINAL
"It's great. Finals, you play them to win. It's not an achievement to come into a final. We want to win. First, we have other things to do, and come back to the Premier League. I told the players as well, you have to bring it every game. They have to bring the intensity and we are United. When you are a United player, you have to match the standards. We are looking forward, it's great to go to Wembley. To go and face Newcastle United, which is a great team, but it is far away for us now. I just said to everybody, we are looking forward to the Premier League and Saturday against Crystal Palace. We bury the cup and focus on the next week."