Ten Hag: Reds must earn right to play in final

Monday 22 April 2024 09:30

Erik ten Hag says his Manchester United players must prove their right to be involved in next month's Emirates FA Cup final over the coming weeks.

United secured a date with Manchester City in the showpiece event for the second successive season, after Sunday's exhilarating semi-final with Coventry City in which we emerged victorious on penalties.

Ten Hag's side had led 3-0 heading into the final 20 minutes, before the Sky Blues scored three goals to force extra-time and, eventually, a shootout.

Attentions now return to our Premier League campaign, with six games to go before the Wembley showdown with City on 25 May and, in his post-match press conference, Erik underlined the importance of those league matches between now and then.

Ten Hag's mixed feelings after semi-final success


Read what Erik had to say in his post-match interviews after the Reds secured a return to the FA Cup final.

"That is one thing," responded the Dutchman, when asked if having absent players return would help our cause.

"But also I think the players should prove that they earn [the right] to play in the final and to give performances in the coming weeks.

"We also need to defend our position in the Premier League as well."

The injuries in United's defensive ranks at present are no secret and, as a result of numbers being down at centre-back, Casemiro was asked to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of the back four on Sunday.

Jonny Evans, Willy Kambwala, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane all missed the semi-final win, as did Luke Shaw who can also operate at centre-back if required.

Ten Hag admitted it would be helpful if the Reds were able to get some returning reinforcements back before the final, with a huge effort to be required against the current holders. 

"So it would be helpful if we have some returning players in the squad and in the team that are fit," added the boss in his post-match press conference, after Sunday's semi-final win.

"If you want to beat Manchester City, you don't need even 11 players, you need a squad.

"You need a bench who can also step in if necessary and in whatever situation you are in.”

Our Premier League campaign resumes on Wednesday (24 April) evening with an Old Trafford clash against Sheffield United.