Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Wembley no advantage for Spurs in semi-final, warns Mourinho

Wembley no advantage for Spurs in semi-final, warns Mourinho

Chris Smalling has outlined how Manchester United must improve on January's Premier League showing at Wembley against Tottenham Hotspur when taking on the Londoners in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final this weekend.

United's silverware hopes this season lie in the FA Cup following their failure in the Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup. The Argentine has been a permanent fixture in the cup competitions this season but is unlucky to miss out this time due to a knee injury.

Starting with the Red Devils, United have failed to meet expectations this season.

When the Manchester United board were discussing the possibility of sacking Louis van Gaal and offering Jose Mourinho the Dutchman's job as manager, there were many people promoting the idea of approaching Mauricio Pochettino as an alternative. However, this never materialized despite their strong start to the season.

By that I mean putting players in positions where they are not right for that particular role - like using Paul Pogba in a holding role when he does not really want to play there. Sammy McIlroy, who played more games against Tottenham Hotspur (19) than any other side for United, opened the scoring in the 10th minute.

Jose Mourinho and his men go into the semi-final off a 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Wednesday evening. Or perhaps not so favorable as they fell 2-1 on aggregate, once again facing humiliation in a knockout competition. The answer was no, but considering their financial limitations stemming from within the club and their general economic state, finishing in the top four must be considered decent at the very least.

Meanwhile in the League Cup, the Spurs fell in the round of 16 to West Ham United which was a disappointment. There have been 48 draws while Tottenham have won 51 times.

But United went for Mourinho instead, considering him to be the best bet for a speedy return to the top of the game. We're familiar with Wembley and our performances there have got better and better.

"If the 30,000 fans are similar to the 1,000 or 2,000 that we have at every away match, then we will be more than at home".

In addition, in comparison with their League Cup and Europa League triumphs past year, ending this season trophyless might seem like a backward step to some fans.

There was a relief at the club that you could feel and some of the pressure came off with it.

FOR MOST CLUBS, to be second going into the final weeks of the season having finished sixth the previous campaign would be regarded as a hugely positive development. A big issue for the club is winning trophies and with such a talented group of players, silverware is necessary to keep them at the club. With the days of club loyalty largely gone with the exception of a few, it seems likely players will leave if trophies don't come.

"Pochettino has built an exciting side and, yes, they are terrific to watch when Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min and Dele Alli are on song". Spurs' second-place finish last season was a step forward, but this term they have regularly been punished for a tendency to switch off at key times. I played a cup final in my stadium and I lost.

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