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Top four or a trophy? Ten Hag reveals his No.1 priority during debut season as Man Utd boss

13:43 GMT 10/11/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Bruno Fernandes Manchester United 2022-23 Europa League
Erik ten Hag has outlined Manchester United’s top priority during his debut season, with a top-four finish and major silverware up for grabs.
  • Red Devils last won silverware in 2017
  • Have also slipped out of the Champions League
  • Dutch coach has many targets to hit

WHAT HAPPENED? The Dutch tactician was appointed by the Red Devils in a bid to get them back on track after several frustrating years of stagnation. One of the most decorated sides in world football are approaching the six-year mark without a trophy, which would have been unthinkable during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford, but they are also aware of how important it is to restore a standing among the European elite.

WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed on his ambition for the 2022-23 campaign, Ten Hag has said: “We are playing in a lot of cups, I want to win trophies, of course but we want to qualify as one of the first four, that has to be the aim, to get there. That is going to be hard this season because I think also what I hear around me is that this is the strongest Premier League in years.

“At the top, you have seven or eight teams who all invested a lot, it is not one or two clubs who invested a lot, it's not only us who invested a lot but also clubs like Newcastle United, invested really a lot, West Ham United, also massive investments, so there are many more clubs that invested but we want to be one of the first four.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Red Devils will be in Carabao Cup action on Thursday when playing host to Aston Villa and victory in that contest would see them into the fourth round and a step closer to landing a notable domestic honour – while they are also through to the knockout play-off stage of the Europa League, where a heavyweight clash with Barcelona awaits.

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WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD? Ten Hag is still looking for consistency from his United team, with the odd wobble leaving them fifth in the Premier League table heading into the World Cup break – with a three-point gap separating them from the Champions League spots ahead of a trip to Fulham on Sunday.