Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has lauded his counterpart Erik ten Hag ahead of his side’s FA Cup final clash with Manchester United.
The two Manchester rivals lock horns in the first-ever derby between the two sides tomorrow (June 3). Ten Hag is tasked with trying to stop Guardiola’s assault on becoming the second club in English football to win a treble.
Guardiola has put the clubs’ rivalry to one side to praise Ten Hag. The Manchester City boss has insisted that Manchester United have an exceptional manager for years to come. He told reporters ahead of the final (via Manchester Evening News):
“It’s not easy the first season in the Premier League, I know myself, so that defines a really good manager. I cannot say we are friends as we are not in touch much… but I think Man United has an exceptional manager for many, many years.”
Ten Hag was appointed as the Red Devils manager in May last year on a three-year contract. He has quickly turned things around at Old Trafford. The former Ajax coach has ended United’s six-year wait for a trophy by winning the Carabao Cup in February.
The Dutch tactician has also guided his side back into the UEFA Champions League with a third-placed finish in the league. He boasts a record of 42 wins in 61 games thus far and matched a club record of 27 home wins in a single season. It has been a superb start to life for Ten Hag that could end with two trophies come Saturday at Wembley.
However, standing in Manchester United’s way is a Manchester City juggernaut that are demolishing their opponents with ease. The Cityzens won their third consecutive league title and are also in the Champions League final against Inter Milan on June 10.
Manchester United’s Antony set to miss FA Cup final against Manchester City
Manchester United are set to be without Antony for their FA Cup final showdown with City. The Brazilian was stretchered off in the Red Devils’ 4-1 win over Chelsea on May 25.
Ten Hag has all but ruled his winger out of the battle with the Cityzens at Wembley. He told reporters (via ESPN):
“It is unlikely. There is still a chance but a really small chance. He didn’t make progress so he still has a chance but it is unlikely he is available.”
Antony has endured a topsy-turvy start to life at Old Trafford since joining from Ten Hag’s former side Ajax. He cost the Red Devils £85 million and managed eight goals and three assists in 44 games across competitions.
However, Ten Hag will have wanted the Brazilian in his side as he was a standout performer when the two sides met at the Etihad. Manchester United suffered a 6-3 defeat but Antony stepped off the bench and scored a sensational strike.