Daily Mail

Fixture pile-up does not scare us, says Ten Hag


ERIK TEN HAG insists Manchester United’s squad can cope with the demands of a marathon season but has played down talk of a quadruple.

United meet West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round at Old Trafford tonight three days after beating Newcastle at Wembley to lift the Carabao Cup.

Ten Hag’s side are still in the Premier League title race ahead of Sunday’s trip to Liverpool and will face Real Betis in the last 16 of the Europa League. United have played 40 games this season and could reach 65 if they progress in all competitio­ns. The most they have played in a campaign is 66 in 2008-09.

Ten Hag believes his players can handle the workload and claimed that winning will give them the energy to keep going.

‘First, mentally, they are really ambitious. That is one thing and that gives them energy,’ said the United manager yesterday. ‘Second, we have the type of players who can handle the load, the physical load. Until now, we have managed it quite well and I think we can also do it until the end of the season.’ Asked if there is a danger United could drop off after winning the Carabao Cup, Ten Hag said: ‘I can’t see that. It’s a trophy but it’s not the end of the season. When I see the fight in the dressing room, it’s not like we are satisfied. We want to do better, that is quite clear. So it’s inspiring and it’s not the end, definitely not. ‘In my experience at Ajax, when we dropped out of Europe the levels went down. When you are in, it gives energy.’ However, Ten Hag was reluctant to discuss the possibilit­y of a quadruple. ‘That is for the fans,’ he said. ‘We have to focus on the next game. We have high expectatio­ns from ourselves. We are ambitious to play better.’

Luke Shaw and Fred are doubts for tonight’s game and Ten Hag could not guarantee that Anthony Martial will be fit to return from a hip injury before the internatio­nal break at the end of this month.

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