Are Manchester United back? Not yet, but they are definitely on their way.

From Wembley Stadium – Manchester United lifted their first trophy in nearly six years by comfortably beating Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

The 2017 post-season has been out of character for one of the world’s most successful football clubs. Semi-final defeats, final near-misses and penalty shootout defeats, but a common theme throughout their barren spell has been fragility – not strong enough in the most important moments to rise to the occasion.

But it’s starting to look like this is the season where everything is about to change. And that’s down to Erik ten Hague and the succession of decisions made since becoming the club’s permanent manager.

The Ten Hag has transformed this team, supercharged their mentality and demanded their highest standards – in doing so solidified a number of new signings who have not only brought his ideas to the fore. has helped, but also removed the fragility that was holding them back.

He has always said that nothing can be achieved until a trophy is won, and on Sunday he had a player in his team who knows better than almost any footballer in the world how to get things done.

Casemiro’s first-half header broke the deadlock, giving United an advantage it might not have warranted until then. His header at the far post came after perhaps some shady action in Newcastle’s opening half hour, but his side never looked back after the goal was confirmed.

Marcus Rashford forced a goal soon after to seal the win, and although Newcastle struggled for the rest of the game, the result was never in doubt.

They did it without fuss, and without being at their best. But in the space of just a few months United have gone from a team that few believed could win trophies to doing a vital job. Similar to Casemiro’s quote about getting through the finale.

“Finals are not for playing, finals are for winning, however you can,” he said during his Real Madrid days.

Here, Casemiro collected his 21st career trophy, and 16th of 18 career finals, scoring a goal and earning a Man of the Match performance. But it is the example he sets, the standards he demands on the pitch, as his manager does from the sidelines, that has dragged a squad of players who didn’t know what to expect in the months and years to come. How to win in a whole new realm for

In 2006, the League Cup winner was the launch pad for a successful period for Sir Alex Ferguson’s new iteration of United. The win at Wembley drew comparisons to that time, and is the first rubber stamp on the teenager’s incredibly successful first season at Old Trafford. They secured a number of important wins over rivals in the league and knocked Barcelona out of Europe, but trophies are the measuring stick at United, and Ten Hague now has his first win.

Time will tell if United continue their recovery, and time will tell if United are truly ‘back’ – as many have been suggesting in recent weeks.

They probably won’t get there until they win major trophies, the Premier League being the top priority, but after today there’s no reason to think that Erik ten Hague – and Casemiro among others – will be theirs. Can’t help getting there.

Leave a Comment