Erik ten Hag is facing a mammoth of a week in charge of Manchester United as the Dutchman prepares for the visit of Barcelona before taking on Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final just three days later.
Victory over the Magpies would put an end to United’s six-year wait for silverware, last winning a trophy under Jose Mourinho in 2017.
Earlier on Saturday, United’s chances of winning the game were boosted after Nick Pope was sent off in their defeat to Liverpool, which means he will now miss the cup final. Reserve goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is ineligible to play, having already featured in the tournament for United this season.
Speaking after the game, Eddie Howe delivered his reaction to losing his trusted goalkeeper and admitted to not being fully versed in the rules on cross-competition suspensions.
🗣️ “I really feel for Nick [Pope]. I don’t know the rules on the red card but it felt like a harsh decision.”
Eddie Howe on the Nick Pope red card. 🟥 pic.twitter.com/je8xWD0qK3
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 18, 2023
“Against these types of teams, it’s the last thing you want to see, as you can see with the scoreline,” Howe told Football Daily, as seen above.
“I really feel for Nick. It’s a difficult one. He’s come out and slightly misjudged the ball. I suppose technically it is a handball, I don’t know the rules on the red card. It felt like a harsh decision.”
With Dubravka also out of the final, it’s expected that former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius will be given the nod between the posts.
Karl Darlow, who was the first-choice goalkeeper at one point under Steve Bruce, would have been an option but the Englishman joined Hull City on loan in the January transfer window.