Andre Onana hails Erik ten Hag amid increased talk over Man Utd manager’s future

United face City in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (left) and Andre Onana
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (left) and Andre Onana (Martin Rickett/PA)

Andre Onana praised under-fire Erik ten Hag amid increased talk that Saturday’s FA Cup final will be the Manchester United manager’s last match in charge.

An eye-watering injury list has been compounded by underperforming players and poor decision-making in what has been a campaign to forget for all connected with the Old Trafford club.

United bowed out of Europe before Christmas and stumbled home in eighth place – their lowest finish of the Premier League era – to heap pressure on Ten Hag as Ineos consider how to take the club back to the top.

Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana will be looking to help his side beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final
Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana will be looking to help his side beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final

Now comes the chance to end the season on a high against Manchester City in the FA Cup final, although the Guardian has reported that United have decided to sack the Dutchman regardless of the outcome.

United insist no decision has been made on Ten Hag’s future and say a full review will take place after the Wembley showpiece, which they are attempting to keep the focus on as speculation swirls.

Asked if there is extra pressure due to the importance of the match, goalkeeper Onana wagged his finger and said: “It’s not extra pressure, it’s extra motivation for us.

“Because we have our fans there. We lost twice against City already. We know how good they are. Best team at the moment – all of our respect – but we go there to win. A final.

“I will always remember (last year) we played better than City, but they won. People always remember the winners. We go there to make history to win.”

Onana was reflecting back on last year’s Champions League final, when he starred for impressive Inter Milan but ultimately lost 1-0 to City as Pep Guardiola’s men completed the treble.

Such form for the Serie A winners saw United last summer pay a fee that could reach £47.2million for the goalkeeper, who enjoyed a successful spell working under Ten Hag at Ajax.

“We had a lot of success together in Ajax,” Onana said. “We played together in the semi-final of the Champions League.

“He’s a good guy, a good coach. Tactically he’s very good and he showed it last season. I was not here last season and they got top four.

“This season a lot of things happened. I’m not here to back him. He is big enough to back himself! But he is a really good guy, he is a positive coach and tactically he’s good.

“If he had all his squad it would probably be different. This season is difficult for him, for us, for the club, for the fans because it is frustrating for the fans.

“When they are coming away and how we are losing it is difficult. Not only for them, but for us, we feel like ‘wow, s***’.

“It’s difficult and sometimes you have to stand there and (it’s like) ‘we couldn’t make it’ and you feel bad because these guys, in good and bad moments, are always with us.

“They drive kilometres for us, to support us, and we don’t win games. We feel bad.”

Saturday’s FA Cup final now offers United a shot at silverware against their rivals, a route to Europa League qualification and the chance to end a poor season on a high.

“It would make things look better,” Onana said. “It’s important to end well and winning this game would mean we’re in the Europa League.

“We know how important it is for us as players and the club to be in Europe. I wouldn’t say it would be successful.

“Playing for this club, winning the FA Cup I don’t think it’s enough.

“We’re used to playing in the Champions League, some of us have played in Champions League finals. It’s been a difficult season.”