CARABAO Cup-winning Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is being hailed as a “genius” for nullifying Newcastle’s attacking threat from set-pieces.
The Red Devils won their first trophy since 2017 with a 2-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday.
Summer signing Casemiro opened the scoring in the first half, and a deflected Marcus Rashford shot sent Man Utd in at half-time with a two-goal lead.
Man Utd’s defensive work proved just as important to winning the Carabao Cup – Ten Hag’s first trophy at the club.
They came up against a Newcastle side who’s success has been heavily built on their size and physicality.
Dan Burn, Sven Botman and Fabian Schar all possess an attacking threat from set-pieces.
Across all competitions, Newcastle have scored 12 goals from set-pieces – the eighth highest out of all Premier League teams.
So Ten Hag came up with a plan – and then plastered it on the changing room wall to ensure his team knew how to stop Newcastle’s set-piece threat.
It worked, with United successfully dealing with six Newcastle corners and multiple dangerous free-kicks, with set-piece wizard Kieran Trippier standing over the ball.
Having spotted the tactics sheets on the wall, one fan said of Ten Hag on Twitter: “Newcastle have been one of the most dangerous teams from attacking set-pieces this season.
“Ten Hag’s preparation for those situations paid off.”
Another tweeted: “I was nervous for those set pieces and though a couple were a bit hairy I felt we dealt with them well.”
A third added: “Tactical genius.”
Ten Hag was delighted to win his first piece of silverware at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman said: “It is about glory and honour and if you want to prove something and win something you have to do it because no one is bringing something to you in top football.
“You have to win the first [trophy] and that is what we did today.
“You can take inspiration from this, but also more confidence.
“We are still at the start [of the process] to restore Man United to where they belong.
“We showed the right spirit – we fought and gave everything, as a team.
“It wasn’t always the best football but it was effective. There is a hunger and desire for trophies.”