Erik ten Hag 'very proud of players and staff' after FA Cup win while Man United's future remains uncertain

Erik ten Hag insists he is in the dark over whether he has just coached his final game as Manchester United manager, an FA Cup victory that club captain Bruno Fernandes says his head coach “deserved”.

First half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo put United on course for Ten Hag's second trophy in as many seasons in this role, one made all the sweeter for United fans as it denied their rivals Manchester City the chance to win the league and the cup win double. Jeremy Doku's goal set the stage for a grandstand finish at Wembley, a venue where United held on in the same impressive fashion as they had for the previous 87 minutes.

Ten Hag's future has been the subject of rampant speculation in recent weeks, with reports on the eve of the FA Cup final that the Dutchman would be sacked regardless of the outcome of his side's clash with City. United have previously let Louis van Gaal go in that regard two days after winning the 2016 FA Cup, although football decisions are now led by minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

When asked by the BBC if he thought he had a future at United, Ten Hag said: “I don't know. All I do is prepare my team, develop my team. This is a project for me. If I came in, I can say it was a mess. Now we are not where we want to be.

“Football is about winning trophies. I want to play the best football, dynamic, attacking football, but at the end of the day you have to win games and trophies. That's the mentality we brought in. This was our only chance and we did it. ' I am very proud of the players and staff.”

Ten Hag started the second season of his United spell on something of a high, finishing third in the league and winning the EFL Cup, earning him the admiration of fans, players and those above him at Old Trafford. However, this season had proven to be an unmitigated disaster before his day in the sun at Wembley, where a thirteenth win in the FA Cup final ensured United would get the European football they had failed to earn from an eighth-place finish in the Premier League.

The Dutchman has consistently insisted that the explanation for these problems has more to do with Carrington's treatment room than anything he tells his players to do on the pitch, and on Saturday he picked up that refrain again. His point may certainly have been valid given the impressive performances of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, the first central defender pair from his first season who he was rarely able to use in his second season.

“It wasn't right,” Ten Hag said about the criticism he received. “We didn't have the players. We saw the same things, not always good football – certainly not – but we had to make constant compromises and then you can't play the football you want to play.

“I had maybe three or four times in two years where we had the full squad available. Even today we were missing big players like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Casemiro.”

In an impressively energetic first half, United avenged the loss at Wembley 12 months ago, the day they could not deny their crosstown rivals the chance to emulate their treble triumph. It also pulls the Red Devils within one of Arsenal's record fourteen FA Cup victories.

Fernandes said: “It was the last chance to get something positive out of the season. We were here last season and we weren't good enough and we had to see them go up and get the trophy. They have great quality, great players, a great manager. We had to sacrifice and suffer, but we did great things.

“Congratulations to everyone, the staff, the players and all the fans. They have given us a big boost. Finally we have something to celebrate. It is crucial for everyone. We know the manager is under so much scrutiny, he deserves this.” also everyone in the backroom staff and the players, we all deserve this.”

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