Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag shouts to his...

Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag shouts to his players from the sideline during the English FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Coventry City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Alastair Grant

MANCHESTER, England — After limping into the FA Cup final, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag came out fighting on Tuesday.

His team was roundly criticized for blowing a 3-0 lead against second-tier Coventry on Sunday and needing a penalty shootout to advance to the final.

Ten Hag, himself, admitted United had been fortunate when Coventry saw an extra-time winner ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside. But with uncertainty surrounding his future following a disappointing season, he hit out at his critics after leading United to back-to-back FA Cup finals.

“The reaction from you (the media) was embarrassing,” he told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Premier League game against Sheffield United. “Top football is about results and we made it to the final and deserved it.

“Twice (two FA Cup finals) in two years — it is magnificent. For me as manager, four cup finals in four years. The comments are a disgrace.”

United will play Manchester City in a repeat of last year's final on May 25.

Ten Hag won the Dutch Cup with Ajax in 2019 and 2021, and was runner up in 2022. He also won three Dutch league titles as Ajax coach. Under Ten Hag, Ajax reached the semifinals of the Champions League in 2019.

Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag waits for the...

Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag waits for the start of the English Premier League soccer match between Brentford and Manchester United at the Gtech Community Stadium in London, Saturday, March 30, 2024. Credit: AP/Ian Walton

It was that record that convinced United he was the right candidate to turn the club's fortunes around after years of decline since former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Ten Hag won the English League Cup in his first season with United last year and qualified for the Champions League. But he has struggled to build on that early success this term.

His team is currently in seventh place in the standings and looks set to miss out on the Champions League, trailing fourth-place Aston Villa by 16 points with two games in hand.

New co-owner Jim Ratcliffe is overseeing sweeping changes at the club and speculation is rife about Ten Hag's position.

Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag during the English...

Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag during the English FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Coventry City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Alastair Grant

A new technical director, Jason Wilcox, was hired last week as Ratcliffe aims to transform United's soccer operations. Former Manchester City executive Omar Berrada has been hired as CEO and United is also targeting Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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