Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has told his players a Wembley appearance will mean nothing unless they beat Newcastle in the EFL Cup final slated for the 26th of February.
Second-half goals from Anthony Martial and Fred last night eased United to a 5-0 aggregate win over Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford.
It confirmed United’s first domestic final appearance since 2018 and puts them a win away from ending their six-year wait for a trophy.
The match also saw the return of Jadon Sancho, a 73 million pound signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2021, after a three-month absence and a scoring return from injury for Martial.
Ten Hag, who won the Dutch (KNVB) Cup once as a player with Twente and twice as a manager during his time at Ajax, has guided Man United to fourth place in the Premier League and they are still in the FA Cup, Europa League and the EFL Cup
His words to players have been echoed by England full-back Luke Shaw, who returned to the starting line-up after a recent illness.
Shaw said while it was extremely pleasing to have qualified for the EFL Final, there will be no point going that far if they fail to win it.
Ten Hag also said he couldn’t think about Newcastle with six matches in the Premier League and Europa League between now and the final as his side continue their bid for a top-four spot.
However, the Dutchman noted that Eddie Howe’s side has one game a week through February and has an eight-day gap from their Premier League encounter with Liverpool at St James’ Park to the final – a rematch of the 1999 FA Cup final – while United will have less than three full days from their Europa League last-32 decider with Barcelona