With Man Utd and Newcastle set to face off in the EFL Cup final on Sunday, the Red Devils boss bemoans playing against “annoying” Newcastle
Manchester United are set to face Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final but manager ten Hag warned his players to not be “distracted” by the “annoying” Newcastle.
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The two teams will face off on Sunday at Wembley Stadium for the first piece of major silverware this season. They previously met at Old Trafford in October where Newcastle managed to get a draw.
“I think it’s a great team,” Ten Hag said of Newcastle.
“It’s a clear philosophy about how they play the game. The key word is ‘intensity’. They do really well. They’re an annoying team to play against, so we have to find a way to win.”
Ten Hag attempted to clarify his earlier comments about Newcastle being “annoying”.
“They try to annoy you. So, we have to make sure we play our game and focus on our game.” He explained.
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle have picked up 5 yellow cards because of time-wasting so far, being third in the league. In terms of having possession, only Leeds United have seen less of the ball than Newcastle.
“They are quite successful with it,” Ten Hag said. “It’s up to us that there’s speed in the game, but we are also dependent on the refereeing as well.”
“We have to make it our game, so focus on the job we have to do“
Newcastle won’t be with their top-choice keeper Nick Pope though. The Englishman was sent off for a bizarre handball which stopped Mohamed Salah from scoring a clear goal in Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat against Liverpool. Ten Hag acknowledged Pope’s absence.
“It’s an issue for them that they have to sort. Of course we know it,” Ten Hag said. “It’s definitely not an advantage.
“We can’t influence it; the one who is holding [the gloves] can influence it. We have to test him, it’s quite obvious.”
Asked whether Pope’s absence could have an impact on Newcastle’s style of football, Ten Hag replied: “I don’t know the instructions of the opponents. I cannot influence that.
“We have to make it our game, so focus on the job we have to do, focus on football when the ball is in the game. It’s about that, being fully concentrated on that and don’t get distracted by whatever is on the pitch.
“We have to focus on the job, find our way and find the moments when we can strike.”