Erik ten Hag dismisses Man Utd ‘motivation’ of stopping Man City treble

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has insisted he and his players are not motivated by the thought of stopping rivals Manchester City winning the treble ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final.

The Red Devils and the Citizens will meet at Wembley in the final game of the domestic season. Man Utd are looking to add a second trophy to their haul for the 2022/23 campaign, while Man City are one-third of their way to the treble.

Winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in the same season is a feat that has only been achieved by the Man Utd side of 1998/99, and much of the buildup to Saturday’s final has been centred on Ten Hag’s men trying to preserve that record.

But while the Dutchman is aware of what maintaining that status would mean for supporters, it is not a factor that is giving him or his squad any further ‘motivation’.

“I know what the fans are thinking. But what we want is to restore Manchester United by winning trophies,” Ten Hag said.

“So on Saturday we have an opportunity to win a trophy and we don’t want to be distracted by anything. If it is important for the fans, it is important for us, so we will give everything to win the cup.

“It will not give more motivation for the team because their motivation is already enough – it can’t be more. They want to win a cup and they have an opportunity. They want to set a crown on the season.”

It was also put to Ten Hag that he wants to show Man Utd can beat Man City without an element of ‘fortune’. The Red Devils triumphed 2-1 at Old Trafford in the most recent derby in January, but not without controversy.

Bruno Fernandes’ late equaliser was initially ruled out for offside against Marcus Rashford in the buildup, but after VAR deemed he was not interfering with play, it was allowed to stand. The England forward would score the winner minutes later.

Ten Hag, however, claimed Man Utd deserved to win that day regardless so this isn’t playing into his thinking too.

“I wouldn’t explain it in that way [that Man Utd needed fortune] because I have also seen the xG [expected goals] from that game and it was really [for] our side. No [fortune], as I say,” he retorted.

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