Erik ten Hag is the man currently tasked with ending Manchester United’s trophy drought – something last achieved by Jose Mourinho.
The Dutchman was only appointed in the summer but has the Red Devils competing in all four competitions with the team going firmly in the right direction. Their lack of silverware in recent years remains an issue, however – and serves to highlight how they’ve fallen behind their rivals.
Ten Hag is trying to emulate Mourinho by hoisting a trophy aloft in his first year. The Special One, appointed back in 2016, claimed the Carabao Cup and the Europa League in his debut season. His tenure ended poorly, but he’s often been keen to point out how he was the last man to win on the red half of Manchester.
“I won three trophies at Manchester United and that was seen as a disaster,” he previously said. “I reached a cup final which I was not allowed to play at Tottenham, and that was seen as a disaster. What’s a disaster for me is considered a great success for others.
“In my last three clubs, I won the title at Chelsea, three cups at United, a final at Tottenham, we arrived sixth, reaching the Europa League. What’s considered a disaster for me it’s something that others have never achieved, it’s my fault.”
A club like United brings with it a sense of pressure and Mourinho has confessed that he felt a huge sense of relief when he did win silverware at Old Trafford. “I wanted very much to win a major trophy with every club, and then by doing that with Manchester United it is quite a sense of relief because it was a big target for me to win a big trophy with Manchester United,” he admitted.
Ten Hag is preparing his side for a Carabao Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest as he continues to make forward strides. In just a matter of months, the former Ajax boss has restored huge optimism and brings with him a winning mentality from his time in Amsterdam.
He is desperate to experience that success again and accepts that his current club have gone without it for too long. “It’s the best feeling you can have, winning a trophy, and I have had the luck in my career to win some trophies and it’s magnificent, especially for the fans. It’s so great and I think the fans here have some experience of that, especially the older ones,” said Ten Hag.
“In this period, Manchester United didn’t win trophies and it’s too long ago. We are aware of that fact and we have to do it again. It’s about winning trophies, so we have a good opportunity, but we have to go game from game.”