Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes his side will have to ignore Newcastle United’s antics and focus on their game when both sides clash in the Carabao Cup final.
Having secured passage to the Europa League round of 16 with a victory over Barcelona, United will now have to switch their focus to Sunday’s showdown – their second high-profile game in four days.
The Red Devils are chasing their first trophy since Jose Mourinho led the club to a Europa League triumph in 2017, but Ten Hag believes his side will not have it easy against an ‘annoying’ Newcastle.
“I think it’s a great team, clear philosophy about how they want to play the game,” Ten Hag told reporters (via Football Daily) in his pre-match conference.
“The key word is intensity, so they do really well. It’s an annoying team to play against so we have to find a way to win them. We have to make sure we play and focus on our game.”
Sunday’s mouthwatering final pits two teams desperate for a title to boost their credentials, but Newcastle could prove the hungrier side with their major trophy drought dating back to 1955.
However, they face an uphill task in the form of United, who are unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions despite being the only club in England competing for every tournament available.
United’s never say die attitude was once again on show when they came from behind to beat Spanish league leaders Barcelona to secure a spot in the next round of the Europa League.
Ten Hag will fancy his side to emerge victorious on Sunday but has also warned his team against Newcastle’s time-wasting antics.
The Magpies have received a lot of stick for their ‘annoying’ stunts, with Nick Pope criticised for the amount of time he wastes as a goalkeeper.
“The referee wants to play the effective time,” Ten Hag added. “They [Newcastle] have the lowest in the league and they are quite successful with it. We are dependent on the refereeing as well.”
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