Manchester United won their first major trophy in six years on Sunday, defeating Newcastle 2-0 in the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Erik ten Hag’s team had taken control by halftime with to Casemiro’s header and a Sven Botman own goal, and they held firm despite Newcastle’s second-half push.
United’s first prize since 2017, when they won the League Cup and the Europa League under Jose Mourinho, was just reward for a mature performance that highlighted Dutchman Ten Hag’s remarkable work since joining from Ajax last year.
On the evidence of Ten Hag’s revolutionary first season, the celebrations that preceded United’s sixth League Cup victory may be the first of many trophy parades.
“You have to win the first one and that is what we did today,” Ten Hag said.
“We can get a lot of inspiration from this and more confidence that we can do it.
“We are still at the start of restoring Manchester United to where we belong — winning trophies.”
United remain a title contender on three fronts, sitting third in the Premier League and facing West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday, followed by a Europa League last 16 meeting against Real Betis in March.
Following ten years in the wilderness since Alex Ferguson retired after leading United to their last Premier League trophy in 2013, the club is now rising from one of its darkest periods.
United finished sixth in the Premier League last season, but Ten Hag has quickly brought them back into contention.
It seemed fitting that Ten Hag’s first title with United came after a recent supper with Ferguson and with the Scot watching from the Wembley stands.
Ending United’s greatest trophy drought in 40 years is no guarantee of future success, but the stoic Ten Hag is capable of thriving in the constant limelight at Old Trafford.
United co-chairman Avram Glazer, who is attending his first game since his family announced in November that they are considering selling the club, may reconsider selling after witnessing what could be the start of a golden era.
After failing to win their first major trophy since the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969, Newcastle can expect to be involved in more high-profile events in the near future.