Soccer-Man Utd still have progress to make in bid to restore former glory, says Ten Hag

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Fulham - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - May 28, 2023 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag with his players after the match REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) - Erik ten Hag wants to bring the glory days back to Manchester United but the Premier League club have a long way to go, the Dutch coach said ahead of their FA Cup final clash against local rivals Manchester City.

United, 12-time FA Cup winners, defeated Brighton & Hove Albion in the semi-finals on penalties and will be looking to lift their second trophy of the season after winning the League Cup in February.

The former Ajax Amsterdam manager took charge last year and overcame a wobbly start to end their six-year trophy drought.

An FA Cup victory would complete an impressive debut season at Old Trafford for the Dutchman after guiding his side, who finished third, to Champions League qualification for next season.

Three-time European champions United failed to qualify for the Champions League last season.

"I look at our opponents, but we look to ourselves, and you have to see where you are as a club, and from there, you have to make progress, and I think we did over the last season," Ten Hag told reporters ahead of Saturday's clash against City.

"We are in a good direction, and we have our opportunity in the summer to make new targets, new goals over the short term.

"In the longer term they will stay the same. I said last year, we want to restore United but we have a way to go."

City wrapped up their fifth league title in six seasons and will be driven by the chance of achieving sporting immortality as they chase a treble.

But Ten Hag said they are focused on winning the trophy rather than preventing City from emulating United's historic 1999 feat of doing the treble.

"We want to win a cup, it is not about stopping them, it is about winning the Cup. We have a great opportunity," Ten Hag said.

Ten Hag added that Brazilian winger Antony, who was carried off injured during their 4-1 win over Chelsea, still "has a chance but unlikely he is available".

French forward Anthony Martial is ruled out with a hamstring strain, but Ten Hag said he is focused on winning with the "players who are available".

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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