Erik ten Hag: Criticism of FA Cup semifinal win ‘is a disgrace’

Addressing the media on Tuesday ahead of Manchester United’s 99th meeting with Sheffield United, Erik ten Hag spent the majority of his press conference speaking about Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup semifinal win over Coventry City.

The Red Devils had looked to be cruising through until a phenomenal comeback from their EFL Championship opponents forced extra-time, in which they were unlucky not to seize progression to the final after VAR disallowed Victor Torp’s apparent winner for an offside in the buildup.

‘In top football, it is about results and we made it to the final and we deserved it,’ insisted the Dutchman on Tuesday. ‘Not only in this game, but also the other games. We lost, in 20 minutes, control. Then also we had bad luck, 3-2, 3-3. We were very lucky in the end, [that is] clear.’

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‘Penalties were very good and we made it to the final and that is a huge achievement. Twice in two years is magnificent. For me as a manager, four cup finals in four years. So the comments [from the media] are a disgrace.’

The standard of refereeing across the country has once again been the subject of intense scrutiny over the weekend. Chelsea were denied a penalty in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City despite a free-kick appearing to strike Jack Grealish’s arm, and Nottingham Forest sparked outrage on social media with a sensational accusation of corruption at PGMOL.

Erik ten Hag was keen not to be dragged into the drama though, and merely suggested that ‘you can agree or disagree’ with referees’ decisions – but you cannot question it.

‘The handball for [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka [against Coventry] is totally wrong. A mistake. But you can’t question [it]. So I will not. It is not good for the game and there are issues, so the refereeing, we should respect them. This [shows] no respect.’

That wasn’t the only controversial incident to stem from Sunday’s action under the Wembley arch. Antony was pictured cupping his ear towards the Coventry City players after the shootout – Erik ten Hag admitted that the Brazilian ‘was provoked and he should not react like that.’

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\Yes, he was provoked and this was a reaction to that. You haven’t seen the provocation, you only see the reaction. But he should not do it. I have also seen Harry Maguire straight after, as others, because we should acknowledge the performance from Coventry.’