Man City’s treble threat looms over Man United’s cherished legacy

Liverpool takes pride in their six Champions League titles and Istanbul, while Arsenal boasts the Invincibles, and Manchester United treasures the treble and their night in Barcelona. Each club holds their legacy dear. However, Manchester United’s greatest accomplishment is at risk of being matched by their local rivals, Manchester City, who are just two games away from achieving their own treble. This threatens to diminish the mystique of those miraculous 10 days in May 1999 when Sir Alex Ferguson’s team won the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup in dramatic fashion.

Manchester City’s league win this season was achieved with 20 more points than United’s 1999 team. However, Erik ten Hag’s side has the opportunity to protect that legacy by defeating City in Saturday’s FA Cup final, the first time the two Manchester clubs have faced off in the event. Ten Hag, though, prefers his players to concentrate on the prospect of securing their second trophy of the season, rather than preventing City from equaling the unique accomplishment.

“We want to win a cup,” said Ten Hag, who claimed his first piece of silverware at United with the League Cup in February. “It is not about stopping them. It is about that we win a cup. We have a great opportunity.”

Despite finishing the season 14 points behind champions City, United has shown significant improvement under the Dutch manager, who guided them to a third-place finish in his debut campaign. Pep Guardiola, who briefly collaborated with Ten Hag at Bayern Munich, has praised the United manager.

“Always I identify a manager by how the team improves,” said Guardiola. “Just look at the team when he arrived and now. So when you see the team get better and better and better – and it is not easy in the first season in the Premier League – I identify a really good manager.”

Ten Hag is in the early stages of his Manchester journey, and while the quality gap has narrowed this season, United still has some catching up to do. This was evident in each manager’s pre-match press conferences, where Guardiola fielded questions about Bernardo Silva’s future at City, while Ten Hag faced similar inquiries regarding Wout Weghorst.

Ten Hag acknowledges the disparity but insists his focus is on United rather than closely monitoring City. “We want to restore Man United, but we have a way to go,” he said. “I think City do a very good job, play very good football, so they deserve [their success].”

“You have to see where you are as a club, and you have to make progress. I think over the season we made very good progress, we are in a good direction.”

Reflecting on his personal experience at Old Trafford since his move last summer, Ten Hag added: “It was a great journey this season. You always enjoy it more when you see the progress of a team – if you see the team and individuals developing and if you work on togetherness.”

“I can confirm that all three things: team, individuals and the way we work together in this club is very good. So for me, so far it’s been a great season.”

World News

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.