Erik ten Hag dismisses “embarrassing” performance claims and believes Manchester United are cursed

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Manchester United’s journey to the FA Cup Final has been nothing short of tumultuous, marked by moments of brilliance as well as embarrassment.

Erik ten Hag, the manager under intense scrutiny, has described reaching the final as a “huge achievement,” despite the team’s near-humiliation at the hands of Championship outfit Coventry City.

The semi-final clash against Coventry saw Manchester United initially in a commanding position, leading 3-0. However, an impressive comeback from the Sky Blues forced the match into extra time. The drama peaked when substitute Victor Torp appeared to secure victory in the dying moments, only for the goal to be disallowed due to a marginal VAR decision.

Ultimately, Manchester United prevailed in the penalty shootout, salvaging some dignity. However, the performance highlighted glaring issues that need addressing before facing Manchester City in the final.

Ten Hag acknowledged the team’s inconsistency, highlighting fluctuations between “very high levels” and “very low levels” within the same match. He emphasised the importance of game management, responsibility, and decision-making, aspects where United faltered against Coventry.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Erik ten Hag, Manager of Manchester United, looks on during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United at Vitality Stadium on April 13, 2024 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag reacts to Manchester United’s win against Coventry City

Despite the resilience shown by the players, Ten Hag lamented a lack of discipline in crucial moments, attributing it to setbacks and perhaps a lapse in concentration. While acknowledging the team’s character, he stressed the need for improvement, especially in maintaining control and securing victories convincingly.

“I see the mistakes we make. You can’t avoid them. But it’s not an embarrassment, it’s a huge achievement,” he stated in his post-match press conference.

“We can’t say this group doesn’t have the right mentality because they showed character today, but in the final part there was a lack of discipline. This season has had many ups but also many downs.”

The contentious decision to award Coventry a penalty at the end of normal time further compounded United’s frustrations. Ten Hag expressed a sense of being “cursed” in such situations, highlighting the challenges his team has faced throughout the season.

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