Screengrab: BeanymanSports

Erik ten Hag led Manchester United to an upset victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final. With his job status in question, the beleaguered manager saw his team pull off the improbable, securing a trophy and a date with European football next season despite placing eighth in the Premier League.

As ESPN’s Jon Champion told Awful Announcing, the general sentiment around Ten Hag’s status is it would be more surprising than not if he wasn’t sacked, even with an FA Cup final win. While his future with the club is in doubt, Ten Hag may have gone out on a high note — akin to Louis van Gaal being sacked after winning the 2016 FA Cup.

And while Ten Hag celebrated the victory — as he should — he received immense pushback from reporters during his postgame press conference. One reporter, in particular, asked Ten Hag if he didn’t understand why some people doubted him because the Red Devils finished eighth with a negative goal difference. That was after the Dutch manager said that Man. United was exactly where they needed to be. Unsurpingly, an English reporter saw where United needed to be slightly different.

Manchester United’s season was plagued by injuries, with 21 players missing a combined total of 1,620 days. This doesn’t even include left-back Tyrell Malacia, who was sidelined before the season began. Lisandro Martinez was particularly affected, missing 214 days due to three separate injuries.

“When you make it like this — sorry to say this, but you don’t have any knowledge about football and managing a football team,” Ten Hag said. “When you don’t have the players available, and they you can’t perform. It’s as simple as that. And if that is the opinion, that is no problem. Then, I go anywhere else, and I go and stay and keep winning and winning trophies.”

The reporter struggled to understand why Saturday’s impressive showing wasn’t replicated more often throughout Ten Hag’s second campaign at the helm.

“Then you don’t understand managing a football team,” Ten Hag said when pressed by the reporter about the manager’s responsibility to weather the storm amidst injuries. “When the players are not there, I can’t train them, I can’t coach them, so they can’t perform, they can’t develop. And we will not get the results we want.”

If this is for Ten Hag, he finished his Manchester United managing career with a bang — and in more ways than one.


About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.