When Erik ten Hag leads Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, the Dutchman will have ambitions to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

The two aforementioned former managers have had the honor of leading United to their previous five League Cup crowns. After Ferguson secured the club his first win in April 1992, Mourinho secured his most recent win in the competition in February 2017.

United’s 3-2 win over Southampton at Wembley exactly six years ago marked their second trophy of the 2016/17 campaign and second of the Mourinho era. After unsuccessful spells with David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, it looked like one of English football’s heavyweights was reawakening.

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The Reds had already visited Wembley just under seven months earlier for the Community Shield, following their FA Cup triumph under Van Gaal at the end of the 2015/16 season. United beat Leicester City 2-1 that day, winning a trophy, however insignificant many consider it to be, in Mourinho’s first competitive match in charge.

The League Cup final with Southampton, which was United’s first appearance in the final of the competition in seven years, represented a golden opportunity for Mourinho to add to his personal collection and give United a confidence boost. mid season. The Reds overcame a five-goal thriller, inspired by two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who described himself as a ‘lion’ after United’s Wembley triumph.

But despite emerging victorious – a triumph that remains United’s last domestic trophy, even if Europa League glory would come a few months later – Mourinho’s post-match comments did not convey the euphoria of a manager who had just won his title. fourth League Cup. and his first major honor at one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. Instead, he suggested that his team, which had blown a two-goal lead before Ibrahimovic slotted an 87th-minute winner over Fraser Forster to make it 3-2, had gotten away with it.

“First of all, the man who has just left the table (former Southampton manager Claude Puel) has reason to be really sad and disappointed,” Mourinho said at the post-match press conference. His team did a fantastic job, they deserved extra time and losing in the 87th minute gives very little time to try to react.


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