9:23 PM GMT
Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC
LONDON -- Manchester United are acceptable to enactment similar it's 1999. After ending a six-year trophy drought by winning the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 Wembley triumph against Newcastle, the adjacent situation is to emulate the club's top squad by lifting 3 cups successful the aforesaid season.
That's however it works astatine the biggest clubs: You triumph 1 trophy and determination onto the next. For manager Erik 10 Hag's players, that means going each the mode successful the FA Cup and Europa League betwixt present and the extremity of May.
"This trophy means something," Ten Hag said Sunday. "That is the feeling I get. We person won something, we person to observe that. But aft that, you person to support going. This cupful tin beryllium the inspiration to springiness adjacent more. Don't beryllium satisfied."
Winning each 3 cups this play wouldn't lucifer the eventual accomplishment of winning the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup arsenic Sir Alex Ferguson's squad did successful 1999, but aft enduring the club's longest barren tally for 40 years, United tin present marque up for mislaid clip successful the weeks ahead. Overhauling Arsenal's eight-point pb astatine the apical of the Premier League is possibly a task excessively far, but the cups are surely determination to beryllium won.
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Casemiro's headed goal, followed by a deflected Marcus Rashford changeable that was recorded arsenic a Sven Botman ain goal, were capable to unafraid a comfy triumph against Newcastle and get United backmost connected the trophy trail. But United can't linger connected this occurrence for excessively long. There are short-term and semipermanent objectives for Ten Hag to tick disconnected arsenic manager, and the Dutchman, appointed arsenic Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's imperishable successor past summer, has already checked plentifulness of boxes.
Ten Hag has transformed the civilization astatine the nine and wrong the squad by instilling a winning mentality, thing accelerated by his decisive handling of Cristiano Ronaldo, who near for Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr aft having his United declaration terminated past November. With that, Ten Hag has taken a squad that recorded United's worst-ever Premier League run past play to sitting successful 3rd presumption now, connected people for Champions League qualification, and with a trophy added to the honours' list.
Moving connected without Ronaldo, removing skipper Harry Maguire from the defence pursuing excessively galore mediocre performances, dropping prima subordinate Marcus Rashford for oversleeping and missing a squad gathering connected a matchday and making cardinal signings -- namely Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen -- this occurrence has Ten Hag's fingerprints each implicit it.
"The turnaround is transformational -- the turnaround nether Erik 10 Hag is unbelievable," erstwhile United skipper Gary Neville told Sky Sports. "At the extremity of past play immoderate of those players were portion of a squad labelled a disgrace by maine and different Manchester United fans."
Roy Keane, United's astir palmy captain, echoed Neville's comments astir the occupation done by Ten Hag: "This is the catalyst for putting immoderate content into the squad. This squad volition beryllium unsafe with a medal astir their cervix due to the fact that you'd similar to deliberation Erik 10 Hag volition amended them again."
"What the manager has done successful a abbreviated abstraction of clip is fantastic," Keane added. "The players present person to usage this arsenic a springboard to get much trophies implicit the adjacent fewer years, that's what it is astir playing for Manchester United."
Winning that archetypal trophy was possibly the biggest request of each for Ten Hag. United had go truthful accustomed to winning during 2 decades of occurrence nether Ferguson that their autumn from grace since his status successful 2013 proved truthful overmuch harder to bear. Only 3 trophies -- the 2016 FA Cup nether Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho's Carabao Cup/Europa League treble successful 2017 -- had been won by United successful the post-Ferguson years, but the past six years successful peculiar person been a bleak wilderness of failure, exacerbated by the successes of Manchester City and Liverpool.
So, Ten Hag simply had to marque United winners again, and helium has done that by winning the archetypal trophy disposable to him. As a result, a enactment has been drawn nether the caller past, and it is present clip to commencement winning the truly large trophies again. For a nine of United's stature, that means the Premier League and Champions League.
That volition beryllium the nonsubjective adjacent season, but anterior to that, Ten Hag has the accidental to crook United into serial winners successful the different 2 competitions successful which they are inactive competing.
Thursday's Europa League playoff triumph against Barcelona, the runaway leaders of LaLiga, marked United retired arsenic favourites to triumph that competition, contempt a tricky round-of-16 necktie against Real Betis, portion they volition beryllium successful the FA Cup quarterfinals if they flooded West Ham astatine Old Trafford connected Wednesday.
A twelvemonth ago, specified bullish speech would person been unthinkable arsenic United lurched from 1 humiliation to different nether Solskjaer and past Ralf Rangnick, his uninspiring replacement arsenic interim manager. But Ten Hag is simply a manager who carries the aerial of idiosyncratic who is successful afloat power of what is successful beforehand of him and who knows precisely however to execute success. As such, helium volition present beryllium eyeing further glory successful the cups this season, utilizing the Carabao Cup triumph arsenic the level connected which to physique a dynasty.
They each person to commencement somewhere. United's FA Cup successful 1990, which ended a five-year trophy drought, was Ferguson's archetypal success, and it propelled the nine to their unthinkable tally of glory. And successful 2006, the erstwhile United brag cited the EFL Cup triumph against Wigan arsenic being the 1 which provided the launchpad for the squad of Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to triumph 3 successive Premier Leagues (2007, 2008, 2009) and besides the Champions League successful 2008.
Ten Hag's squad are not primed to bash that conscionable yet -- enactment inactive needs to beryllium done -- but determination is present a wide pathway to making United large again.
This squad unquestionably needs a reliable centre-forward to ascent to the adjacent level. They request a Harry Kane oregon Victor Osimhen to present 20-plus goals a play and easiness the overreliance connected Rashford, portion greater extent would permission the squad little susceptible erstwhile cardinal players specified arsenic Casemiro oregon Raphael Varane are unavailable.
But Ten Hag has brought specified a wide structure, and improved truthful galore players, that United present lone request strategical additions of the precise champion players to marque them challengers connected each fronts. Yes, they request much consistency from Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho and Antony and for goalkeeper David de Gea to eradicate the mistakes that proceed to haunt his game, but Ten Hag has elevated standards. He volition expect those players to emergence to the situation of gathering them.
The adjacent situation is to adhd 2 much trophies to the Carabao Cup this season. It is nary longer an improbable dream. It is what this United squad tin deliver.