Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has labelled Newcastle’s tactics ‘annoying’ as he prepares to meet the Magpies in the Carabao Cup final.
Newcastle are in their first cup final since 1999 and are looking to delay Ten Hag’s first taste of silverware in England, with the Dutchman looking to deliver a trophy to Man Utd for the first time in six years.
Ten Hag was full of praise for the progress Newcastle have made under manager Eddie Howe, even if it makes his job as a manager tougher.
“It’s a great team with a clear philosophy about how they want to play the game,” Ten Hag said. “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. They try to annoy you. We have to make sure we play our game and focus on our game.”
Asked whether the ‘annoying’ nature of their tactics could relate to time-wasting, Ten Hag admitted: “Yeah.
“For instance, so if you see from the FA, the referees want to play an effective time. [Newcastle] have the lowest in the league 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.”
A key component of Newcastle’s tactics has been goalkeeper Nick Pope, who is suspended for the final after being sent off against Liverpool.
With backup goalkeeper Martin Dubravka ineligible after featuring on loan for Man Utd earlier in the competition, Newcastle will turn to former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, who has not played competitive football since February 2021.
“I’m not in the instructions of the opponents, so I don’t know [if Newcastle will miss Pope’s time-wasting],” Ten Hag continued. “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.”