Man Utd gaffer Erik ten Hag has pledged to do all and sundry within his power to empower the club end their worst trophy drought in 40 years, prior to them heading into a Carabao Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest tonight.
United savored an incredible period of success with a massive trophy haul under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson but have only picked up three trophies since he retired a decade ago and have agonizingly been trophy-less since beating Ajax to claim the Europa League in Stockholm in 2017.
Suffice it so say that the arduous six-year wait for silverware is the club’s longest since the gap between FA Cup wins in 1977 and 1983. Now boss ten Hag is eager to give younger fans a taste of the glory to which older supporters have become accustomed in the club’s grand past.
Ahead of tonight’s first leg at the City Ground, Ten Hag said: ‘It’s the best feeling you can have, winning a trophy.
“I had the luck in my career to win some trophies and it’s magnificent, especially for the fans. It’s so great and I think the fans here have some experience, especially the older ones.
“But now it is a period [when] Manchester United didn’t win trophies and it is too long ago. We are aware of that fact and we have to do everything to bring a trophy in.”
United participated in six semi-finals since that Stockholm success six years ago and lost in the 2018 FA Cup final and 2021 Europa League final.
Now the Red Devils are hoping to secure silver as they return to play at Forest for the first time since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored four goals off the bench in an 8-1 league win in 1999, another step on the road to their iconic Treble that season eons ago.
“It’s a long time (since United played there) eh?’, Ten Hag added. ‘But I think we like that – a fanatic audience is nice to play for. It will be a good atmosphere and I think it will motivate the players and we have to get ready for that.
“It’s about winning trophies, so we have a good opportunity, but you have to go game from game, so (we must) focus on the first leg.
“Don’t think further, don’t think further ahead because that will distract, so the aim for tomorrow is [to] win that game.”