Manchester United defeated Newcastle 2-0 in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday to earn their first major trophy in six years.
Casemiro’s header and a Sven Botman own goal helped Erik ten Hag’s team take the lead at halftime, and they held on despite pressure from Newcastle in the second half.
United’s first trophy since 2017, when they won the League Cup and Europa League under Jose Mourinho, was fair compensation for a mature performance that highlighted the Dutchman Ten Hag’s outstanding work since his transfer from Ajax last year.
On the basis of Ten Hag’s ground-breaking debut season, United’s sixth League Cup victory celebrations may have been the first of many trophy parades.
In addition to finishing third in the Premier League, United faces West Ham in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday, and Real Betis in the round of 16 of the Europa League in March.
United is now emerging from one of the darkest periods in the club’s historic history after spending ten years in the wilderness following Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, the year he helped them win their final Premier League championship.
Last season, United finished a dismal sixth in the Premier League, but Ten Hag has quickly orchestrated their resurgence.
It seemed appropriate that Ten Hag’s first prize win with United occurred after he recently had dinner with Ferguson and when the Scot was there in the Wembley stands.
There is no guarantee of future success, but the stoic Ten Hag seems to be able to thrive in the relentless Old Trafford spotlight despite ending United’s worst trophy drought in 40 years.
After witnessing what might be the beginning of a golden era, United co-chairman Avram Glazer, who is attending his first game since announcing in November that his family is evaluating offers for the club, may decide against selling.
Newcastle can anticipate participating in additional championship contests in the near future, despite failing to win their first significant trophy since the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
Since being acquired by a Saudi-funded group in 2021, Newcastle has seen a resurgence, as they eagerly competed in their first cup final in 24 years.
They currently rank fifth in the Premier League after being rescued by manager Eddie Howe from the relegation zone last season. After years of being the laughing stock of English football, a sleeping giant has awakened.
With songs of adoration for their heroes being sung well over an hour before the game began, Newcastle’s fervent “Toon Army” transformed one half of Wembley into a turbulent sea of black and white.
Yet, Newcastle’s day was topped off by that display of Geordie fervor when United ruined the fun in a cool manner.
In his first significant performance since his gaffes cost Liverpool the 2018 Champions League final match against Real Madrid, stand-in goalkeeper Loris Karius had caused Newcastle to worry that he might be exposed.
Karius may have felt he could have done a better job with United’s second goal while filling in for the suspended Nick Pope, but he was not at fault for Newcastle’s loss.
The finest chance for toothless Newcastle to take the lead came from Allan Saint-Maximin, who skipped past Diogo Dalot for a ferocious shot that David De Gea blocked with an outstretched hand.
It was an important save because United took the lead just a few seconds later, in minute 33.
Casemiro timed his move expertly to head a free kick from Luke Shaw beyond Karius from inside the Newcastle penalty area.
Following his transfer from Real Madrid last year, the United midfielder’s most recent dominant performance deserved a reward.
In the 39th minute, United doubled their advantage.
When Newcastle’s defenders took their time to respond to Wout Weghorst’s pass, Marcus Rashford was in the box and fired an errant effort that rebounded off Botman and looped over Karius.
In the second half, Newcastle put pressure on De Gea’s goal, but Ten Hag’s team resisted by displaying the drive and organization their boss demanded.
This victory implies that the Ten Hag era is built on much sturdier foundations than United’s previous League Cup victory, which may have been fool’s gold.
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