As the Manchester United players ascended the stairs to reach the Carabao Cup trophy after their victory over Newcastle, Gary Neville, exasperated, said eleven words of prediction.
“That team will be dangerous with a medal around their neck.”
It was a prediction that may well prove to be true more immediately than he would have expected, if recent history is anything to go by.
Prior to United lifting their first trophy in six years, seven of the last nine winners of the Carabao Cup had gone on to lift at least one more trophy by the end of their season.
It only goes to show that winning is a habit, one that breeds confidence, and one that makes a team dangerous to their opponents.
And while Manchester United are still in a period of transition after their years in the wilderness, with last season being a particular lowlight, Erik ten Hag may well have just taken a huge step forward in bringing the club back to its lofty heights.
Lisandro Martinez lifted a World Cup barely three months ago, while Casemiro and Raphael Varane had won 13 trophies together before tonight’s game.
Casemiro and Raphaël Varane have now won their 14th trophy together:
🏆🏆 La Liga
🏆🏆 Supercopa de España
🏆🏆 UEFA Super Cup
🏆🏆 Club World Cup
🏆 Copa del Rey
🏆 EFL Cup 🆕
The first in Red. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/s0j4uLMvOv
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 26, 2023
But it was telling that they all celebrated the Carabao Cup win, their first trophy as Manchester United players, with every bit as much enthusiasm as they had their previous accolades.
It could be that this means so much precisely because they know just how big a step that first one can be, how difficult it is to get the ball rolling.
Perhaps they know that Manchester United are now dangerous once again because this team has tasted victory after a difficult abstinence that might not have ended had it failed to beat Newcastle tonight.
The Red Devils started the day as the only English team to still be competing on four fronts and they ended it competing on three.
Recent history says that there is every chance of winning on at least one more.