Erik ten Hag’s four-word message to Manchester United after Carabao Cup win

“Of course yesterday the players were still enthusiastic and they had to celebrate this momentum.

“But yesterday after we settled down and we get back to work. That’s what we had to do, that was recovery. The ones who played less did a good training session.”

Ten Hag may be tempted to rotate slightly against West Ham on Wednesday given that kicks off a run of six March fixtures in 19 days.

The Dutchman has largely relied on the same players despite United’s relentless schedule in a season unlike any but was keen to underline the importance of the squad.

  • West Ham (H) – Mar 1, FAC
  • Liverpool (A) – Mar 5, PL
  • Real Bets (H) – Mar 9, UEL
  • Southampton (H) – Mar 12, PL
  • Real Bets (A) – Mar 16, UEL
  • Brighton (H) – Mar 19, PL

“Let’s make myself clear: we didn’t win (the Carabao Cup) with 11 players,” Ten Hag said. “We did win with a squad.

“I think the squad is so important – every time players come in if it’s for a whole game, if it’s for minutes, a couple of games, I think also during games we can change dynamics.

“We do it with many more than 11 players, so I count on them and I know they will be ready because every time the players play their games they take responsibility.

“It’s about that, take responsibility but also you have to fight for your position.

“There are great months ahead of us, so great games and I think everyone wants to play games. The players who forms the best teams will play.

“Also for (captain Harry) Maguire, when he plays well he can come into the team.

“Everyone was involved (in the celebrations) and everyone was happy, and everyone had the idea we did it collectively.

“It was not an individual or one, two, three players did this. It was the performance of the whole team, of the whole squad.”

That collective effort is underpinned by a much-improved mentality, meaning there is no chance of the upcoming Premier League clash at rivals Liverpool proving a distraction.

“But I think every game is important, every game until now,” Ten Hag said when the significance of Sunday’s trip to Anfield was put to him as United look to keep their title hopes alive.

“This dressing room has the right attitude and the right approach that they take game by game, not looking ahead.

“You said it’s the biggest game, so Barcelona is not a big game?”

Luke Shaw and Fred shone in that Europa League tie against Barca and performed well under the Wembley arch on Sunday.


But the pair could miss Wednesday’s match against the Hammers, joining Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen on the sidelines.

United boss Ten Hag said: “Anthony Martial is not available. Luke Shaw and Fred are questions for tomorrow.”

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