Erik ten Hag could this weekend become the first Manchester United manager to win a trophy since Jose Mourinho’s double trophy haul in 2017.
Just days after a spectacular turnaround against Barcelona in the Europa League, which saw Ten Hag’s men send the Catalan giants crashing out of the tournament, United will be switching their focus to the final of the Carabao Cup at Wembley on Sunday.
The Reds are in stunning form going into the game, losing just one game since domestic football resumed at the end of last year. Speaking ahead of the game, Luke Shaw has urged his teammates to be confident and believe that they can win the game and put an end to United’s six-year wait for silverware.
“We’ve all been in a lot of big games. I think we have that experience, and we can’t, of course, let the occasion take over,” Shaw is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website.
“Like I say, we have to just focus on the game itself, the things we’ve been doing well and take them into the game and just make sure we focus on our game.
“[We] know what Newcastle are going to bring and the occasion is going to be amazing, but once you’re out on that pitch and the whistle goes, you forget about that, and you just play the game.
“We need the belief to be there. We need to believe that we can win this game. Go out there with confidence and I think for me, I won’t need to speak too much because everyone knows how important this game is, this match will be.
“We need to leave everything out on that pitch to win the game because it’s been a long time since we’ve won a final. For me, for the players, for the club it means everything.
“We will do everything we can to make sure that we win that.”
Victory over Newcastle would be an invaluable boost to Ten Hag and another pillar in what is turning out to be a highly memorable season for the club.
Winning a trophy roughly halfway through the season would be an invaluable boost to United and it would further strengthen Ten Hag’s hand – the former Ajax manager has completely won supporters over.
Crucially, after a summer where he was not able to completely overhaul the squad, he has improved players he inherited from previous regimes and Shaw has been one of the beneficiaries.
Shaw enjoyed a stunning 2020/21 season but this season may be his best yet. He has grown into a mature leader and is, undeniably, one of the first names on the teamsheet.