LONDON, March 18 — Erik ten Hag said winning the League Cup had whetted Manchester United’s appetite for more silverware as he prepared his team to face Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
United beat Newcastle at Wembley last month to end a six-year trophy drought and are also through to the last eight of the Europa League, where they will face Sevilla.
“Of course, it is huge motivation,” said Ten Hag. “We all really enjoyed Wembley, we all really enjoyed winning a trophy and it has to be the fuel for the next one, get pushed by that idea, and that has to bring extra energy to beat Fulham.”
Marcus Rashford again stole the headlines on Thursday with the winner in the second leg against Real Betis, taking his tally for the season to 30 goals for club and country.
Nineteen of those have come since the World Cup and Ten Hag said the England forward had improved during the season.
“He was also not in the best shape when he started the season but the way of playing gives him a base,” the United boss said Friday.
“And then he brings his skills in and his attitude and mentality, and that is bringing him a lot of progress and that brings the team a lot of joy and gives Marcus a lot of goals and us a lot of wins.”
Rashford this week praised the impact of Benni McCarthy, who was brought onto the coaching staff by Ten Hag to work with the club’s strikers.
“I knew his skills,” added the Dutchman of Rashford.
“You also bring staff around who can make him better, who can make progress and who he gets motivated from.
“I thought we needed one in the staff who is specifically responsible for strikers. Benni is doing a good job but don’t forget others in the staff because it is about teamwork. I think the staff is in a good balance.”
Casemiro will not be available to face Fulham on Sunday as he begins a four-match suspension following his red card against Southampton last week.
United will likely come up against former midfielder Andreas Pereira, who has played a key role at Fulham following his move from Old Trafford last July.
He admitted this week he avoided talking to Ten Hag before leaving because he did not want his former boss to sway him.
“He is a good player and I have already known him a long time,” said Ten Hag.
“I had him in the youth of PSV (Eindhoven) before he transferred to Manchester United and I am really happy for him that he is progressing.
“I think it was the right step for him because he has to play on a regular basis.” — AFP