Home ยป Three things we learned as Manchester United beat Newcastle to win the Carabao Cup

Three things we learned as Manchester United beat Newcastle to win the Carabao Cup

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United faced Newcastle United at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final.

With the opportunity to end the club’s six-year trophy drought, Erik ten Hag as expected named a strong starting XI to thrash Eddie Howe’s stubborn Newcastle side.

The United boss gave David de Gea the nod in goal. Diogo Dalot started ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka with Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw forming the rest of the defensive contingent.

Casemiro was the Red Devils’ deepest-lying midfielder with Bruno Fernandes and Fred slightly ahead of him.

Wout Weghorst led the line with Marcus Rashford and Antony on either side of him.

Here are three things we learned from Manchester United’s 2-0 win against Newcastle United.

Ten Hag is cultivating mentality monsters

United hardly played their best football in the opening 45 minutes, but the team still went into the break two goals up courtesy of Casemiro and Marcus Rashford.

Casemiro rose highest to head in a sublime cross from Shaw to give United the lead.

For United’s second, Weghorst found Rashford inside the Newcastle box and the number 10 made no mistake from close range as he lifted the ball well beyond Loris Karius’s reach.

The goal was afterwards credited as a Botman own goal.

The Magpies were largely the more composed team as evidenced by how well they kept the ball and sustained spells of possession.

Allan Saint-Maximin was a constant threat and gave Dalot plenty to think about on the right side. A foul on the Frenchman just eight minutes into the game saw Dalot get booked and the Portuguese had to walk a tightrope in the entire first half.

At times, United were getting dominated in the middle of the park and found it hard to contend with the physicality injected by the likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton.

Ten Hag’s stars needed to consolidate and muster a spirited showing to overcome the pressure they were under and so they did.

The Reds took their chances and their clinical nature in front of goal saw them gain a comfortable lead and something to hold on to after the interval.

When the defence was called upon to ward off Newcastle’s attacking ventures, they did so to perfection and in turn, gave the team a solid foundation from which the lead was established.

Heading into the game, Ten Hag re-affirmed his unshakeable belief in the players and reiterated that they are up to the challenge of bringing the trophy back to Manchester.

He said, “I have learned enough about these players to be confident that they will rise to the occasion, and I am also reassured by the fact that we will have thousands of our fantastic supporters lending their backing today.”

The manager’s faith in his developing mentality monsters was certainly not misplaced. It helps that there is a visible impact from serial winners like Casemiro and Varane.

Second-half defensive masterclass

With United two goals up, the second half switched to keeping the Toons out.

Ten Hag brought on Wan-Bissaka for Dalot to patrol St-Maximin and help shore up the defensive line.

Anytime a Newcastle player touched the ball inside the box, he was immediately swarmed by two or three United men.

The Magpies’ danger-men were largely kept quiet. The likes of Martinez, Varane and Casemiro came up with a few heroic tackles, blocks and interceptions that aided the team in their efforts to keep a clean sheet.

Every single player bar Rashford executed their defensive responsibilities well. Rashford was left forward to give United an outlet.

Another masterstroke from Ten Hag was the introduction of Marcel Sabitzer. The Austrian’s fresh legs came in handy in the middle of the park with 20-odd minutes left to play.

Undoubtedly, Ten Hag would have been pleased with his players’ resilience and defensive solidity.

Carabao Cup final win can be a catalyst for more success this season

In the build-up to the final, Ten Hag repeatedly mentioned that the Carabao Cup could form the basis for more success this season and even further down the line.

These are sentiments Rashford echoed in an interview with The Manchester Evening News.

After this win, United are still actively competing on four fronts – the FA Cup, Premier League and the Europa League.

Jose Mourinho won the Carabao Cup in 2017 early on before proceeding to lift the Europa League months later.

Hopefully, the fact that the players have had a taste of some level of success will spur them on this campaign. There is more glory to be achieved and the team has put itself in an impeccable position to challenge.

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