Fresh off of an impressive victory against Barcelona, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has now turned his attention to Newcastle. The two Premier League teams are set to face off in the Carabao Cup Final on Sunday. Ten Hag spoke about his next opponents during press conference on Friday.

The Manchester United manager heaped praise on the rising Newcastle team, but also admitted that the Magpies were annoying to play. “I think it’s a great team with a clear philosophy about how they want to play the game,” Ten Hag told reporters.

Ten Hag claims Magpies use time-wasting tactics

“The key word is intensity. They do really well. They’re an annoying team to play against, so we have to find a way to win. They try to annoy you. We have to make sure that we play our game and we focus on our game.”

Ten Hag was then asked what exactly he meant by the ‘annoying’ comments. “For instance, referees want to play effective time. They have the lowest in the league and they are quite successful with it,” explain the coach. “So it’s up to us that we get speed in the game, but also we are then dependent on the refereeing as well.”

According to BBC, Newcastle currently keeps the ball in play just 52.3% during Premier League play. Only Leeds (51.8%) have a lower percentage in England’s top flight. Manchester United keep the ball in play 57.3% of the time under ten Hag.

Manager reveals Rashford is a doubt for cup final

The United boss also added that Marcus Rashford may not be fit enough for Sunday’s big game. Rashford departed Thursday’s game with Barcelona because of an apparent leg injury. When asked about the England international’s availability, ten Hag admitted that he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know. So, players now are coming in. We have to do investigations, medical of course,” claimed ten Hag. “We have to wait for a 100% diagnosis, so we have to wait.”

The Carabao Cup Final on Sunday can be accessed Stateside on ESPN+ starting at 11:30AM (ET).

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