“We want more. My contract is long, so hopefully I can win something more.”
These phrases sound lots like one thing Erik ten Hag might have stated in the aftermath of Manchester United’s Carabao Cup remaining victory in opposition to Newcastle on Sunday, however they belong to Jose Mourinho, who had been sat in the identical seat in the Wembley information convention precisely six years earlier.
Like Ten Hag, Mourinho lifted the League Cup in his first season as supervisor at Old Trafford after which spoke about wanting extra. There was extra to come back from Mourinho in the elongated vase of the UEFA Europa League three months later, however slightly over a yr after that, Mourinho was gone, sacked in December 2018 following a collection of disagreements with the board over transfers and a run of depressing outcomes.
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The 2017 League Cup, secured with a 3-2 win over Southampton, wasn’t the platform it was imagined to be, and it has since been consigned to historical past as a uncommon good day through the post-Sir Alex Ferguson hunch. Ferguson used the cup competitions — notably success in the FA Cup in 1990 and the League Cup in 2006 — to set off durations of sustained success. The query for Ten Hag is easy: how will his 2023 League Cup triumph be remembered?
It’s straightforward with the advantage of hindsight however there have been indicators, even through the celebrations at Wembley in 2017, that every one was not nicely with Mourinho at United. In reality, the second query in his winners’ information convention recommended as a lot.
“Jose,” it began, “for someone who has just won a trophy, you don’t seem hugely exuberant or happy.”
“I am very happy,” got here Mourinho’s reply, delivered whereas sporting the face of a person who was something however. “I am very happy. It’s important for the fans and for the players. I always try to put myself in a secondary position, but the reality is that it’s also important for me. It’s a relief.”
The distinction in Ten Hag’s manner on Sunday couldn’t have been extra completely different. After dancing on the pitch with Antony and Lisandro Martinez, he sat down for his information convention sporting a large grin. He stated broadly related issues to what Mourinho had stated six years earlier than — “If we keep going and working then we can win even more” — however he was in a buoyant-enough temper to make a joke, as he left having practically forgotten to take the trophy with him.
Ten Hag has cracked down on squad self-discipline since taking up final summer season, however he has additionally ensured he has constructed a bond along with his gamers and the followers, one thing it appeared Mourinho at all times struggled to do.
In line with Carabao Cup guidelines, golf equipment would not have to carry prematch information conferences for any spherical previous to the semifinals and for the primary time this season, United used the time to ask supporters to come back to the coaching base at Carrington and put their very own inquiries to Ten Hag. Fans from everywhere in the world took up the chance and every time, it went down nicely.
Mourinho may need understood his job at Old Trafford, however Ten Hag, it appears, understands the membership.
After successful the League Cup and the Europa League in his first season, Mourinho completed second in the Premier League in his second yr and misplaced in the FA Cup remaining to Chelsea. It was at that time, nonetheless, that his reign started to unravel. He had already misplaced endurance with star participant Paul Pogba and through the summer season of 2018, he turned more and more pissed off by the membership’s switch enterprise.
Having determined he needed to maneuver on Anthony Martial, Mourinho was satisfied the thought was blocked as a result of the French ahead was membership co-chairman Joel Glazer’s favorite participant. Mourinho additionally requested to signal a brand new centre-back, however was advised that targets Harry Maguire and Jerome Boateng had been too costly and too previous and injury-prone, respectively. Transfers might be contentious for any supervisor and Ten Hag must watch out in the best way he navigates the summer season window in order to not fall into the identical entice as Mourinho.
Ten Hag virtually forgets to gather the Carabao Cup trophy
Manchester United supervisor Erik ten Hag is reminded by reporters to convey the Carabao Cup with him on the finish of his press convention.
After making such an enormous step ahead in his first season, there will likely be an expectation for United to make a real title problem and the Dutchman will fairly rightly need a squad able to delivering. Ten Hag has not been shy in pushing for extra gamers — winger Antony final summer season, ahead Wout Weghorst and midfielder Marcel Sabitzer in January — and can accomplish that once more, however as Mourinho discovered to his value, there might be hazard whenever you overstep the mark.
Because of monetary honest play issues, United are planning a summer season spend of between £100m and £200m, and will probably be soccer director John Murtough’s job to steadiness Ten Hag’s calls for with the membership’s monetary constraints. A brand new striker, in explicit, is significant if United are going to succeed in the subsequent stage.
Mourinho thought the League Cup would supply a primary style of success for a group destined for greater and higher issues and the followers at Wembley that day most likely thought the identical. That it did not gives an apt reminder for Ten Hag — not that he wants one — that there is work to do to finish his Old Trafford revolution and get United again to the highest desk in each England and Europe.
Mourinho’s League Cup turned out to be nothing greater than a quick spotlight. Ten Hag needs his to be the beginning of a collection of them.