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Erik ten Hag dismisses speculation over Manchester United future as Pep Guardiola shows sympathy ahead of FA Cup final | football news

Under fire, Erik ten Hag said his only goal was to win the FA Cup as he dismissed rumors the final could be his last game as Manchester United manager.

United are looking to salvage a poor season marred by injuries by beating neighbors City at Wembley.

They bowed out of Europe before Christmas and limped home in eighth place, their lowest finish in the Premier League, as speculation continues over manager Ten Hag’s future.

Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel and Kieran McKenna are among the names linked with the Old Trafford hot seat as INEOS consider how to take the club back to the top.

When asked about some people suggesting this weekend’s final could be his last game as United manager, Ten Hag chuckled and said: “I have nothing to say.

“I’m just concentrating on the job I have to do and that is first to win the game on Saturday and then we’ll be on the project. Move forward on the project.”

“I came here to win trophies and Saturday is another opportunity”

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Sky Sports Melissa Reddy says Ten Hag’s future was the ‘definitive issue’ in her FA Cup press conference

And he added: “I came here to win trophies. On Saturday I have the next opportunity and we achieved it, we earned this opportunity as a team and now we have to go for it.”

“At the same time, in the last two years, of course, after each season you review it and then we will see where we are in the project and the things we have to change.

“We’ve been talking about it lately. There are very good things in the background: players who are growing, players who are developing, values ​​that are emerging. And, at the same time, on Saturday we have a great opportunity to win the next trophy.”

Guardiola: the injuries behind Manchester United’s problems

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola defends Erik ten Hag’s performance as Manchester United manager ahead of the FA Cup final.

Pep Guardiola agrees that his rival Ten Hag has been unlucky with injuries this season, but warned that the Dutchman will continue to be judged by his results.

In his defence, Ten Hag, whose team finished eighth in the Premier League as City claimed their fourth successive title, has been severely hampered by injuries to key players, especially at the back, throughout the season.

Guardiola, his rival, feels sympathy, but is very aware of the expectations.

The City boss said: “So at big clubs like United and City, when you don’t win you’re always in trouble. It’s not a secret. We’ve done what we’ve done, but we’d be in trouble if we didn’t do it.” ‘twin.

“I have great respect for his work in the past and now with United. I completely agree when I listen to him and he says that they were not a complete team, that they did not have the whole team ready throughout the season. They had a lot of injuries.

“They should think about the reason. Even in my case, I am focused on that. You have to be fit, fit, fit, otherwise you won’t be able to use the players.”

“They have a lot of problems and when that happens the coach suffers a lot. I think the team is really good, but the problem when they are injured is that you can’t use them and that is a big disadvantage.”

Ten Hag: Maguire will not be available for FA Cup final

Manchester United's injured Harry Maguire is replaced
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Manchester United defender Harry Maguire ruled out of FA Cup final

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of the FA Cup final against Manchester City on Saturday.

The Manchester United defender suffered a muscle injury during training earlier this month and was expected to be out for three weeks.

“Maguire is not available,” coach Erik ten Hag said in the pre-match press conference.

Asked if Maguire, who has been named in England’s provisional squad for Euro 2024, has suffered a setback, Ten Hag said: “I don’t think so, no.

“It’s just that he didn’t survive, he didn’t heal like we expected.”

United’s injury problems ease

Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his team's second goal from a penalty.
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Marcus Rashford could play for Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday

Left-backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia will also miss Saturday’s final at Wembley, but United’s injury problems have eased in recent weeks, with Lisandro Martínez and Raphael Varane returning along with Marcus Rashford and captain Bruno Fernandes.

Victor Lindelof, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial were also pictured training in the build-up to the final, boosting Ten Hag’s chances against rivals City.

“I think all the players you mentioned (Lindelof, Mount and Martial) are available,” Ten Hag added.

“Tomorrow we will train finally and then we will make the final decisions, but if I monitor it now it looks good.”

Ten Hag: Rashford very motivated

Despite his injury, Maguire was included in England’s long list of 33 players for Euro 2024 by his Man Utd teammates Shaw and Kobbie Mainoo, but failed. Mark Rashford was ignored in the final tournament in Germany.

The 26-year-old was the most striking omission from Gareth Southgate’s squad and has the chance to react on a big stage at Wembley this weekend.

“It looks good and that’s a race, up and down,” Ten Hag said.

“So, a fall can also be fuel, that’s what I see in training. You will be very motivated. He speaks with his feet, he is very talented.

“He already has a great career and I’m sure he will surpass it and score even more goals.”

Pep is not worried about the shot at history

After last week’s unprecedented feat of securing a fourth consecutive title in the English top flight, City have the opportunity to make more history by becoming the first team to win consecutive domestic doubles.

Guardiola insists he is more focused on finishing the season with a flourish than the record books.

He said: “The fact that we can do back-to-back doubles, of course, is important, but even if we didn’t have the opportunity to do this sort of thing, the FA Cup is the FA Cup.

“It’s Wembley, the fans go to London. The players know it’s the last game of the season, it’s the last effort.

“I’m impressed with how well we trained after a few days of rest. People are very focused and everyone will be a part of it and do the best we can.”

City have a fit squad apart from goalkeeper Ederson, who is sidelined with a fractured eye socket.

It is the first time since 1885 that the same two teams meet in a repeat of the previous year’s final. United will be looking to avenge last season’s 2-1 defeat, in which City opened the scoring after 13 seconds.

Guardiola said: “We respect United a lot. It’s always been that way.

“In the last decade we have been better but, in terms of history, they are the best team in England. So, for that alone, you have to respect them enormously, of course.”

Does the final matter more to Ten Hag?

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Sky Sports News’ Melissa Reddy explains why questions over Erik ten Hag’s future at Manchester United threaten to overshadow the FA Cup final

Sky Sports Ben Grounds Analysis:

After one of the club’s worst league seasons in a generation, the writing could already be on the wall for Ten Hag after two years in the job, as new minority owners INEOS consider the best way to take the club forward.

The United manager has overseen the club’s lowest Premier League finish, as well as 14 league defeats and a negative first goal difference, while defeat at Wembley will leave them facing just a second season since 1989/90 without European football.

Four wins in the final 13 games of the Premier League season, a run that included a calamitous 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in early May, was an indicator that progress under their Dutch manager was has stagnated, while even the manner in which they reached Saturday’s final, in which they squandered a 3-0 semi-final lead against Championship side Coventry and required penalties to progress, drew harsh criticism.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes Marcus Rashford will be “very motivated” following the news that he had been left out of England’s provisional Euro 2024 championship.

Ten Hag described the media’s hostile reception to the semi-final victory as “shameful”, but his assessment of United’s performance against the Sky Blues was a snapshot of a campaign in which they have consistently been accused of failing to perform. control over the games.

There would be no shortage of candidates should Sir Jim Ratcliffe decide on a move, with Mauricio Pochettino, considered for the job in 2022 before Ten Hag’s appointment, being the last name available following his departure from Chelsea.

Former Blues bosses Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, as well as England boss Gareth Southgate, have also been linked, as has Ipswich’s Kieran McKenna.

Ultimately, the decision could come down to how much of United’s demise is seen as falling on Ten Hag’s shoulders and how much is a product of more structural issues outside the manager’s control.

Man Utd will need the game of their lives

In the latest Merson Says, Paul Merson says Manchester United would need “the game of their lives” to lift the FA Cup and explains why Erik ten Hag will already know his future…

“I don’t see anything other than a victory for Manchester City in the FA Cup final. They are way above Manchester United.

“People will say that Wigan beat Manchester City in the FA Cup, but this team is very different. This is a unique game, it depends on how Manchester United play.

“If you turn up and play 10 behind the ball, and try to counter-attack, and then you get beaten 1-0 or 2-0, you don’t have a shot like we did at Aston Villa vs Chelsea (in 2000), Go out and think, why Why didn’t we try? The manager set up a trap for us to make sure we didn’t get defeated.

“Man Utd have to go and prove it. You have chances against Man City if you choose the right pass – don’t get me wrong, you open yourself up a lot too, but you have chances.”

“They need their players to really have the games of their lives to win this football game.”

Read Merson’s full column here.

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