Erik ten Hag sends message to Man United board after FA Cup win

Erik ten Hag has aimed a pointed dig at Manchester United‘s owners by saying that if they do not want him as their manager, he will win trophies for another club.

Ten Hag lifted his second piece of silverware in as many seasons at Old Trafford thanks to United’s surprise 2-1 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

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The Dutchman said he is still in the dark about whether he will remain manager next season, but insisted he will continue to win trophies — whether he’s at United or elsewhere.

“Two trophies in two years is not bad, three finals in two years is not bad,” Ten Hag told a postmatch news conference Saturday.

“If they don’t want me, then I go somewhere else to win trophies because that is what I do.”

Ten Hag’s future is in doubt following a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Premier League.

New co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has refused to offer his public backing, and sources told ESPN that club chiefs have sounded out potential candidates — including Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino, Kieran McKenna and Thomas Frank — in case they decide to make a change.

Ten Hag, however, insisted he has the support of Ratcliffe and his Ineos team, led by director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford.

“That is what they always tell me,” he said. “How many times do I have to tell you? Every time it is the same question. Do I have to repeat myself 10, 15, 20 times?

“They don’t have to tell me every week if they tell me so often. I heard it many times.”

Ten Hag was also asked whether he felt undermined by United holding informal talks with representatives of potential replacements before issuing a strong defence of his reign.

“I don’t know if they have done this, I can’t answer this question,” he said. “I don’t know. Maybe you have sources. I don’t have them.

“I am in a project and we are exactly where we want to be, we are constructing a team for the future. When I took over we were in a mess. The team is developing, the team is winning and the team plays to an identity, but you need the players to be available and a strong squad, especially when you play in England and Europe.

“There is a lot of work to do but we have value in the squad, high potentials. The team is progressing and we are winning trophies.”

United captain Bruno Fernandes said the players were aware of the speculation over Ten Hag’s future but said it was not the players’ place to weigh in on what the board should do.

In a postmatch interview with ESPN, Fernandes said: “That [speculation] always reaches us, nowadays it’s impossible. If it doesn’t reach 25 players, it reaches number 26 and he ends up passing the message on.

“Nobody was worried about that. Today we had a great opportunity to win an FA Cup, something that’s very important in the UK. The focus was on the final, nobody was worried about that.

“It’s not up to us to make decisions, including whether or not we stay, it’s up to the club to make those decisions. That’s why we have to do our best on the pitch, now enjoy the holidays, and whoever is in the national teams can do their best.”

Fernandes added that United’s poor season in the Premier League was not absolved by the FA Cup victory.

When asked Saturday’s win saved their season, he said: “No, it saves the FA Cup. In the Premier League we wanted to do better, to do more, in European competitions too, but in the FA Cup we managed to succeed and we’re very happy.”