Manchester United advanced to the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium with a 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
United, who lead 3-0 after the first leg at the City Ground last week, booked their place in the final with goals from Anthony Martial and Fred, resulting in a 5-0 aggregate triumph. It means that manager Erik ten Hag has the opportunity to deliver the club’s first trophy in nearly six years less than a year after taking over.
United has not won a major prize since defeating Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League final in May 2017. They last appeared in a domestic cup final in 2018, when they were defeated 1-0 by Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
Ten Hag, unlike other Premier League managers, has refused to utilize the Carabao Cup as a chance to rotate his group and bring in new players. He has taken every round seriously, and as a result, United is one win away from ending their trophy drought.
Ten Hag named a star-studded line-up in the 2-0 win over Forest on Wednesday night, despite his side having a 3-0 lead from the first leg. It means that those who began the second leg will be determined to begin the final.
However, Marcel Sabitzer, who watched the win over Forest from the stands, will also be aiming for a starting spot at Wembley, by which time he will have hoped to have adapted to life in England and grown acquainted with Ten Hag’s style of play and his new teammates. If he plays in the final and United win, he, like everyone else who played a role in the Reds’ path to the final, will be eligible for a winner’s medal.
However, while this is quite fair, EFL rules dictate that the winning team will only get 30 medals, which will be distributed among both playing and coaching personnel. United have already used 26 players in the Carabao Cup this season, including former loanee Martin Dubravka, who will almost certainly be in Newcastle’s matchday squad at Wembley, implying that there will be few medals to be shared among the coaching staff, especially if Sabitzer increases the number of players used to 27.
If United wins the final, they will be permitted to obtain extra medals, albeit at the expense of the club.
The rule controlling medal distribution during the final states: “In addition to the Cup, the Management Committee will deliver 30 souvenirs to the victorious Club and 30 souvenirs to the losing Club in the Final Tie. Additional souvenirs may be supplied with the Management Committee’s approval but at the expense of the asking Club.”
With that in mind, if United wins the final and Sabitzer plays, the club may only have a handful of medals to deliver to staff members like Ten Hag and his coaching staff. Everyone would have contributed to the trophy’s delivery, thus it would be only appropriate to award everyone proportionally.
Having said that, United may be obliged to purchase more medals to award to everyone engaged in the feat.