Source: The Emirates FA Cup via Facebook
Manchester United are into the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The 12-time winners will take on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium and plenty will be backing the Red Devils to advance to the final on May 19th. Jose Mourinho’s men have failed to inspire confidence in recent weeks but success in England’s oldest club competition would certainly go down well with United supporters.
Just two weeks ago, United crashed out of this season’s Champions League in embarrassing fashion. After a goalless draw in the first leg of their double header with Sevilla, most fans expected Mourinho’s side to finish the job on home soil. Sadly, the Old Trafford crowd went home disappointed as United suffered a 2-1 defeat. On that night, Mourinho got it all wrong but this is the ideal chance to make amends.
The FA Cup was not viewed as a priority at the beginning of the campaign but a 13th victory in this competition is now essential. Mourinho is under pressure in the Old Trafford hot seat and a third trophy in just his second season at the club would silence his critics. Falling short in the pursuit of glory is not acceptable though; United fans are well within their rights to expect success in every competition.
Success creates expectation – and that expectation is high at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson did incredible things during his tenure and it has all gone pear shaped since his retirement in 2013. The David Moyes experiment was over before it got going and an FA Cup win wasn’t enough to save Louis van Gaal. Silverware is silverware but Mourinho knows that the FA Cup alone isn’t enough for a club of United’s magnitude.
United should be challenging for the Premier League title. On the whole, it has been much better from Mourinho’s side this season – the Red Devils are eight points better off at this stage of the campaign than they were in 2016/17. As for the boring argument? United have scored 12 more league goals through 30 fixtures; Mourinho’s men are still second in the top-flight table remember…
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 18, 2018
At the time of writing, bet365’s football betting odds have United at 7/4 to win the FA Cup this campaign. It isn’t going to be easy by any means – Spurs have an excellent record at Wembley and are well accustomed to the home of English football after playing there for the 2017/18 season. Cast your minds back to January 31st, Tottenham were by far the better team in a 2-0 victory against United. Mourinho will be wary of a Spurs onslaught.
A second-placed finish and victory in the FA Cup final would constitute a successful season for United; only the anti-Mourinho brigade would disagree. Yes, the Red Devils should be challenging for the Premier League title but Manchester City have been on another level this campaign. Settling for second best this season can be accepted; 2018/19 will be a huge year for Jose Mourinho though.