Erik ten Hag has described Newcastle United as an “annoying team” to play against ahead of Sunday’s cup final, also raising doubts around Marcus Rashford’s availability.
The Man Utd boss appeared to take aim at our time-wasting, claiming no side in the Premier League has the ball in play less than Eddie Howe’s Mags.
As a result, he’s urged his team to resist distractions and play with ‘speed’ to combat against this – ironic when his own side tried to slow the game down when they were hanging on against Barcelona last night!
On Rashford, the Dutchman admitted he ‘doesn’t know’ if their star man will be fit for Sunday, with this coming after the forward pointed towards a potential injury on Instagram after their 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag says the issue is now being investigated by their medical team, before confirming Anthony Martial will miss out through injury. Here’s what he had to say on all of the above:
Ten Hag on Newcastle’s time-wasting:
“It’s a great team with a clear philosophy about how they want to play the game. It’s an annoying team to play against.”
“They are an annoying team. They try to annoy you. They are quite successful with it. We have to get speed into our game.
“For instance, so if you see the referees want to play an effective time. They have the lowest in the league (for the amount of time the ball is in play) and they are quite successful with it.
“So it’s up to us that we get speed in the game and we are also then dependent on the refereeing as well. I’m not in the instructions of the opponents, so I don’t know [if Newcastle will miss Pope’s time-wasting]. Also, I can’t influence that.
“We have to make it our game, so focus on the job and playing football when the ball is in the game, it’s about that, so fully concentrated on that. Don’t get distracted from what can be, whatever is on the pitch. We have to focus on the job we have to find our way and found out the moments we can strike.”
Ten Hag when asked if Marcus Rashford will be fit for Sunday:
“I don’t know. The players are just coming in now. We need to do the investigations.
“We did yesterday but it’s too soon after a game. So we have to wait for the medical team now.”