Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - United and Spurs seek FA Cup as last chance for silverware



United and Spurs seek FA Cup as last chance for silverware

Paul Pogba's Manchester United and Jan Vertonghen's Tottenham Hotspur are to meet in an FA Cup quarterfinal at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. AFP
Paul Pogba's Manchester United and Jan Vertonghen's Tottenham Hotspur are to meet in an FA Cup quarterfinal at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. AFP

United and Spurs seek FA Cup as last chance for silverware

Manchester United head into Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Tottenham Hotspur needing to keep their hopes of silverware alive to save their season.

However, Spurs are just as hungry as they aim to end a decade-long wait for a trophy and confirm their consistent improvement under Mauricio Pochettino.

Jose Mourinho’s men tightened their grip on the Premier League runners-up spot this week, but a title battle with champions Manchester City never materialised and they limped out of the Champions League in the first knockout stage.

To add to the frustrations of the beleaguered boss, speculation over the future of £89 million ($127 million) midfielder Paul Pogba has dominated headlines in recent weeks.

Often deemed surplus to requirements by Mourinho this season, Pogba showed what he is capable of by scoring twice to help United temporarily delay City’s title party in a thrilling 3-2 Manchester derby win a fortnight ago.

He impressed Mourinho once more in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at Bournemouth, but in between was substituted and heavily criticised for his performance in United’s shock defeat against West Brom that gifted the title to City last weekend.

“Top performance. Top performance. Obviously the performance against City was special, coming with two goals,” said the United boss of Pogba, who was retained in the side despite seven changes.

“But this performance was a very similar level. So top performance. He can do it.”

Mourinho won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at Old Trafford and even delivering just the FA Cup would be a poor return in the eyes of fans who hoped for a Premier League push this season.

But United have a proud tradition in the competition, with 12 wins in their history, just one behind Arsenal.

Spurs are third on the list with eight FA Cup wins, but haven’t won the trophy since 1991, or any silverware since the League Cup in 2008.

Tottenham are, though, on the brink of qualifying for the Champions League for the third straight season.

‘Next level’

And Pochettino has always insisted that success in the Premier League and the Champions League is a better gauge of how well his side is progressing.

“If we are capable to win the Premier League and the Champions League it is a moment you say the team has improved and reached the next level,” said the Argentine.

“Until that, win the FA Cup or the League Cup, it will be fantastic for our fans but is not going to move the club to a different level.”

Pochettino is sticking to his guns despite evidence that success in domestic cup competitions has been the stepping stone to greater things for other clubs.

United’s FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace in 1990 laid the foundation for two decades of sustained success under Alex Ferguson, while City’s FA Cup win in 2011 ended a 35-year trophy drought and paved the way for the Premier League title the following year.

Spurs go into the match with a comfortable lead over fifth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League, with the dethroned champions likely to miss out on Champions League football next year.

Antonio Conte, widely expected to be in his final few weeks as Chelsea boss, has a more straightforward-looking task on Sunday against relegation-threatened Southampton, who Chelsea came from 2-0 down to beat 3-2 at St Mary’s last weekend.

The Italian boss is keen to fill in a surprising gap in his CV – despite repeated league success in Italy and England, he has never won a cup.

Conte has been coy when questioned about his future throughout a troubled season, but he urged his players to play for the fans regardless of his own position at the club.

“I was a player, and the players must play every game, and not for me, but for the club and for the fans,” Conte said.

“They must have great respect for this badge – they don’t have to play for the coach.”

FA Cup semifinals All times Cambodian

Saturday

Manchester United v Tottenham 11:15pm

Sunday

Chelsea v Southampton 9pm

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio