Manchester United threw a memorable party at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening as they beat Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final to end a near six-year trophy drought
As soon as the final whistle blew at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening, the relief across the red half of the arena was palpable as Manchester United claimed the Carabao Cup.
Their 2-0 victory over Newcastle brought to an end a near six-year trophy drought at Old Trafford and signalled a successful start to life Erik ten Hag. Ever the perfectionist, attention very quickly turned to what else the Dutchman could lead the Red Devils to throughout the remainder of the season with United continuing to challenge on a number of fronts.
Before that though, celebrations took place both on the pitch and in the dressing room as the squad and Ten Hag’s staff toasted their success at the national stadium.
Immediately after the final whistle blew, the United players on the bench behind manager Ten Hag charged onto the pitch. The Dutchman’s own celebrations were slightly more understated as he punched the air before sharing a brief embrace with in-form striker Marcus Rashford – the England star left delighted despite seeing his goal brutally stripped off of him.
Following a brief moment of reflection – and applauding their beaten opponents Newcastle – it was then United’s turn to climb the hallowed steps of Wembley Stadium. The Red Devils were led by captain Harry Maguire after he was introduced for a brief cameo at the end of the match.
Once the squad had clambered down, the celebrations continued in earnest but only after the players had gotten in a customary photo in front of the sponsors’ boards. The players not involved in the match were also allowed to join in.
Among those were the likes of Anthony Martialand Brandon Williams, whilst the injured Christian Eriksen was allowed to join in. The headline from the post-match celebrations was arguably Ten Hag – the United boss joining in with former Ajax stars Antony and Lisandro Martinez in a little dance close to the Red Devils’ fans.
The pair were draped in a Brazil and Argentina flag respectively and thoroughly enjoyed their manager joining in. It did not go down well with all though with United icon Roy Keane jokingly suggesting that Ten Hag should resign off the back of his jig.
The Irishman said: “You should resign after that”. Ten Hag replied: “Never. We have a history with that (from Ajax). I hope we can do it more often.”
Celebrations continued into the United dressing room with the Dutchman also making sure another club icon, Sir Alex Ferguson got involved. The pair shared a touching moment in the Wembley tunnel after sharing some words and a brief embrace.
Avram Glazer was also present and offered his congratulations to Ten Hag amid questions over his intentions to sell the club. Sir Alex Ferguson continued to play a key role in the Red Devils’ celebrations after receiving an invitation into the United dressing room by his eventual successor.
Whether he got totally involved remains to be seen but he will no doubt have been delighted to see a number of his former charges experience lifting silverware once more. Champagne and beer then came out although Ten Hag joked that it was off the cards for his players ahead of the midweek FA Cup tie with West Ham.
He said: “Managers and staff, it is champagne. For the players, they rest, they have a big game on Wednesday.”
Ten Hag continued to be a jovial presence at the heart of his side’s celebrations and provided even more jokes as his post-match commitments continued during the press conference. The Dutchman walked into the press room at Wembley with the trophy in-hand.
After answering the questions of the assembled journalists, he went to get up and leave before being reminded that he needed to take the League Cup with him. After returning to retrieve it, he joked: “I can leave it because next cup, he? This one is in.”
Whilst the Dutchman was joking, it would certainly not be unreasonable to suggest that the club’s next trophy is already on the agenda particularly with the squad flying straight back to Manchester after the game. There will be relief at the fact that the first one is secure though – and the celebrations certainly indicated that.