Erik ten Hag does not believe Newcastle game will be his Old Trafford farewell

Under-fire Erik ten Hag does not believe Manchester United’s match against Newcastle will prove his last in the Old Trafford dugout.

The 54-year-old’s future is subject of widespread speculation given the way things have dramatically gone off course following a promising first season in the hotseat.

Ten Hag has managed to lead injury-ravaged United to another FA Cup final against Manchester City, but their wretched league form has seen doubts over his future as Ineos makes sweeping changes.

“Yeah, we will do,” Ten Hag said. “Yes, of course (we will show our appreciation to the fans).

“In good times, in bad times we are together, and the fans are showing that we are together, so, yeah, a lap of honour we will do.”

Quite what appetite there will be from supporters for that remains to be seen, especially if United fall to a club record 10th home defeat in a season.

Arsenal celebrate
Manchester United were beaten by Arsenal in their last game (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Goodbye for?” Ten Hag asked the reporter, who clarified he meant him.

Ten Hag dismissed a follow-up question about the future having last week said he was confident “common sense” will prevail as the club’s decision-makers consider his future.

Importantly, the Dutchman also believes he still has the United fanbase onside.

“Actually yeah, if in the stadium, away and home, they are always backing the team, backing me, and also when I’m in the streets many, many come to me,” Ten Hag said.

“Maybe it’s just polite but I don’t feel it like this. I never almost get a negative reaction because the fans understand where we are.

“The fans understand that this club is in a transition and the huge problems we have had to face, especially in positions, in key areas.”

Among the key issues has been United’s patchy backline, which will again be without Harry Maguire, Varane, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia on Wednesday.

Willy Kambwala could feature and Lisandro Martinez will be involved after six weeks out with a calf complaint, with the latter providing a timely shot in the arm.

“I think especially on the pitch we need him,” Ten Hag said of a player that has only been able to make 11 appearances since last April.

“There he shows his spirit, there he’s the warrior if he’s fit. When his fitness standards are on a high, he’s an absolute leader for us, an absolute warrior.

Lisandro Martinez
Lisandro Martinez is back for the game against Newcastle (Adam Davy/PA)

Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford could also return days after United great Wayne Rooney said he felt some injured players were holding themselves back when fit enough to play.

“No, you have to see here in Carrington the players are desperate to play,” Ten Hag said in response.

“If I see Licha Martinez, if I see Bruno – he did even a fitness test on Sunday to play. Rashford did everything he could do – he trained, he tried to train last week, but he didn’t make it.

“Players are desperate to play. They want to be in the right shape. You see also Victor Lindelof, Rapha Varane – they are training to make themselves available for the final, so they do what they can do.”

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