Ten Hag insists Manchester United "have to play Champions League football" but explained why the lack of it wouldn't hamper the progress of the club.
Having taken over at the end of last season with the club at a low ebb, the former Ajax boss has overseen an impressive turnaround in both culture and quality at Old Trafford. The Carabao Cup final triumph against this weekend's opponents Newcastle saw Ten Hag became just the second manager in United's history to win a major trophy in his first campaign at the helm. The FA Cup and Europa League provide further opportunities for silverware, but there is no doubting the importance of Champions League qualification ahead of Sunday's trip to their top-four rivals.
When the head coach of the most successful team in European women’s football, Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor, says the English game is “exploding”, you know something exceptional is happening at the elite end of the sport in this country,