Erik ten Hag believes this season’s Carabao Cup can kickstart a new era of trophies for Manchester United after a drought that has lasted “too long”. United’s last piece of silverware came in 2017 when Jose Mourinho’s side lifted the Europa League trophy.
But after six years of near misses – they have since lost two finals and bombed out in four semi-finals – Ten Hag has called on his side to land the first of what he hopes will be many. Ten Hag’s will take a full-strength side to the City Ground for the first-leg semi-final against Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
And the United boss will tell his side they can take a huge step towards Wembley on February 26 with the return leg at Old Trafford to come. “I’ve said it before that it is too long that this club didn’t win a trophy and it belongs to this club to win trophies so we have to get back on track,” he said.
“It is the best feeling you can have, winning a trophy and I have the luck in my career to win some trophies. It’s magnificent, especially for the fans. I think the fans here have some experience, especially the older ones, but this period when Manchester United win trophies is too long ago.
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“In these decisive moments know what to do. I think it is a thin line. We grow a lot mentally but still we have a step to go.” Ten Hag is likely to continue to keep faith with £85million summer signing Antony despite admitting the forward needs to and can do more for the side.
“He can do better but I see space for improvement,” said Ten Hag. “We want him to be more direct but the team is performing better if he is on the pitch and that is a good thing. He has had an impact but with his capabilities, his talents he can do even more.”
Probable Man United team vs Nottingham Forest (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst
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