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Ten Hag disappointment as Ajax lose Dutch Cup final to PSV after Onana and Haller dropped

3:38 PM SGT 18/4/22
Erik ten Hag Ajax
The coach who continues to be linked with Manchester United proved he is not afraid to make big calls, but he was ultimately left frustrated

Manchester United-linked Erik ten Hag showed in Ajax’s Dutch Cup final clash with PSV that he is not afraid to make big calls as he dropped Sebastien Haller and Andre Onana, but was left disappointed and facing questions following a 2-1 defeat.

The Eredivisie title hopefuls took the lead as in-demand Ryan Gravenberch opened the scoring, but they conceded twice in the second-half – with Cody Gakpo, another man sparking talk of interest from England, grabbing what proved to be the winner.

Ten Hag, who replaced 33-goal top scorer Haller with Brian Brobbey and left first-choice goalkeeper Onana out of his squad entirely, cut a frustrated figure afterwards as he felt Ajax had done enough to get their hands on more major silverware.

What did Ten Hag have to say?

The 52-year-old, who refused to answer any questions on his links to United, told Voetbal International: “There should have been only one team with the cup, that is Ajax.

“We do that to ourselves, we make two very big mistakes. While we had said to each other that you have to stay 100 per cent focused.

“You have to defend much better, you can never let Gakpo come in, that’s where his qualities lie. There are two people standing by, you have to keep him on the left.”

He added: “We score a great goal with [Davy] Klaassen; just offside. And a shot from [Dusan] Tadic on the post. It wasn’t supposed to be, those are the forces and powers in football. It wasn’t easy, but you also have to enforce it yourself.”

Any more excuses?

While suggesting that Ajax did not get the rub of the green against PSV, Ten Hag also took aim at the match officials when expanding on the reasons why his side failed to get over the line in a major final.

He said: “We played against more than eleven players. Nevertheless, we showed character and we should not have lost this game, but that has happened.”

There have been plenty of reports claiming that Ten Hag has already agreed to become Manchester United’s new permanent manager in 2022-23, as the Red Devils seek a long-term successor to interim coach Ralf Rangnick, but no official announcement has been made yet.

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