sport news Erik ten Hag has overseen a season of chaos at . One Wembley ... trends now

sport news Erik ten Hag has overseen a season of chaos at . One Wembley ... trends now
sport news Erik ten Hag has overseen a season of chaos at Manchester United. One Wembley ... trends now

sport news Erik ten Hag has overseen a season of chaos at Manchester United. One Wembley ... trends now

Erik ten Hag walked out of Wembley with a wave and a smile and the look of a man who had proved a point. If this was to be his last stand then it was one with courage and defiance and real sporting spirit written right through it. Well played Ten Hag. Well played Manchester United

Over the course of 90 minutes of a super game, 7-1 at the bookies became 2-1 on the field. However you wish to look at it, this was an FA Cup Final upset to place with SOME that have passed before. 

Whether it should be enough to earn Ten Hag another crack at actually moving United forwards in to a sustainable and respectable future is a different matter entirely. 

And the truth of it is that if Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS group felt on Saturday morning that Ten Hag was not the man for them then that should remain the case right now. If they change their mind and indeed their whole strategy on the back of one result, what would it say about them?

They’ve been played a bit over these last few days, Ratcliffe and his gang. Talking to agents about their clients as possible future United managers and then refreshing their mobile phones at the start of the weekend to discover that there is absolutely no such thing in football as a confidential conversation. They should feel embarrassed about that. A lesson learned, perhaps.

Erik ten Hag walked out of Wembley with a wave and a smile after his side's FA Cup triumph

Erik ten Hag walked out of Wembley with a wave and a smile after his side's FA Cup triumph 

This was an FA Cup Final upset to place with some that have passed in previous years

This was an FA Cup Final upset to place with some that have passed in previous years 

In terms of their current manager, this was a cup final played out in the most difficult of circumstances. Facing Pep Guardiola’s brutally monotonous Manchester City is an arduous enough task at the best of times. Doing it with your neck in a noose is another thing entirely. 

This was an enormous victory for Ten Hag, then. Possibly the biggest of his career, both in terms of his standing with the United support and indeed his own sense of worth. It was hard not to feel pleased for him. He is a graceful and dignified man and it was wholly understandable that his post-match demeanour was of the front foot variety.

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The 54-year-old has clearly had enough of the endless questions about his future, the criticism of his tactics and indeed his results. He clearly saw this bespoke counter attacking performance and indeed this momentous big match result as a vindication of his methods. The only problem is that it arguably isn’t true.

United played terrifically well at Wembley. On the whole they neutered City’s immense and varied attacking threat and struck clinically on the break. Their first goal – touched in by Alejandro Garnacho after a City defensive mix-up – was lucky. 

The second – scored at the far post by young Kobbie Mainoo – was utterly and spellbindingly beautiful. Goodness me, that no-look pass by Bruno Fernandes will stay in the memory all summer.

But this was a performance that, sadly for Ten Hag, prompted as many questions as it did answers. The main one being: Where on earth has this been all season?

Ten Hag points at injuries. In recent weeks, as the darkness has drawn in and the pressure of failure has started to impair his judgement and his utterances, this is has become the Dutchman’s stock refrain. Injuries, injuries, injuries. Always injuries.

Jim Ratcliffe (L)  and his gang must decide what it is they want for the future of their club

Jim Ratcliffe (L)  and his gang must decide what it is they want for the future of their club

Yes, he has suffered greatly in this regard. It happens sometimes. And the fact that this performance appeared with so many of his big players suddenly back on the field played to his argument. Still, though, it’s an argument shot through with holes.

When you look at a coach in good times and in bad, you look for method, you look for

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