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Erik ten Hag news: Manager says treatment unfair after Man United win FA Cup final 2024

The final is widely expected to be Ten Hag's final game in charge

Manchester United football manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said he has been mistreated by the media after watching his side beat Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final amid intense speculation that he will lose his job despite the shock win at Wembley Stadium.

First-half goals by Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo ensured Ten Hag’s reported farewell was a glorious one, earning a Uefa Europa League place with arguably the best performance of his patchy first two seasons in charge.

“I think so – the team, me as well,” under-pressure Ten Hag said, responding to former England striker Gary Lineker’s question for BBC Sport about whether he had been “unfairly treated”.

“It was not right. There was not always good football – definitely not – but we had to make compromises all the time. Then you can’t play the football you want to play.”

United had a poor season by the standards of the 20-time English champions, finishing eighth – 31 points behind champions City – and exiting the Uefa Champions League at the bottom of their group.

Ten Hag faced the most separate injuries (45), second-most injured players (21) and joint-most maximum players out in a single game week (11), according to figures from website Premier Injuries.

“I’ve been here for two years and we’ve had maybe three, four times when we had the full squad on board,” Ten Hag said. “Today, there were some massive players [out], like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Casemiro.”

The new boss of United’s football operations, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, watched on with legendary Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson as Ten Hag won the first trophy of the businessman’s co-ownership of the club.

Ratcliffe has said he wants to change the culture of a club which has not won the Premier League since Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 campaign, and Ten Hag said he did not know whether that would spell the end of his tenure.

“The only thing I am doing is preparing my team,” he added. “[I want to] develop and progress my team and the individual players because, for me, this is a project. When I came in, I can say it was a mess. We are better now. I have always said we are better but we are not where we want to be, by far.”

Ten Hag won the Carabao Cup in his first season at the helm. “Football is about winning trophies,” he reiterated. “I want to play the best football; dynamic, attacking football.

“But in the end, you have to win games and trophies. That is the mentality we brought in. We had only one opportunity [this season] – the FA Cup. We did it. I’m so very proud of the players and staff because it is an incredible job.”

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Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.