Ander Herrera celebrates the win over Tottenham at Wembley.

Herrera: 'We don't fear anyone'

Friday 25 January 2019 10:46

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera says winning the Emirates FA Cup is one of the main priorities for the squad this season.

United made it all the way to Wembley last year, only to be beaten 1-0 by Chelsea, due to an Eden Hazard penalty in the first half. This time around, Herrera wants to go one better and steer the Reds to a record-equalling 13th FA Cup triumph.

Standing in our way in the fourth round are the team who have lifted the trophy the most times, Arsenal, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men travel to the Emirates Stadium.

The Reds overcame Reading 2-0 to make it to this stage and, while some argue the cup has lost some of its allure, Herrera insists this is not the opinion in the United changing room.
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“Of course, the Premier League is the main objective for everyone,” the 29-year-old told MUTV. “But it’s really nice to win a trophy and I think Manchester United always fight for titles and for trophies.

“We are not going to throw this competition away - no chance. We have a lot of expectations, we are out of the League Cup, so the FA Cup is the only English competition, apart from the Premier League, that we are involved in, so we go with everything. 

“We still think our main objective is the league, of course, but Manchester United is about trophies, it is about titles, so we are not going to throw it away.”
Herrera has enjoyed some of his best moments in a red shirt when playing in the FA Cup. The Spaniard scored in his first-ever game in the competition, a 2-0 win against Yeovil Town in 2015, provided an assist for Anthony Martial’s winner in the semi-final a year later, and, last season, he scored the winner at the same stage against Tottenham Hotspur.

“I really like this competition,” he said. “I like the way English football organise this competition. It’s very exciting, it’s very emotional for the fans, for everyone. In Spain, the games are two legs, because you have to play at home and you have to play away, but, in England, the fact you have to play only one game and, in case you draw, you have the replay makes the competition very, very emotional and very exciting.

“I have very good memories. I have lost the final, I have won a final. I have played in some of the stadiums, all the stadiums, also in some of the stadiums of lower teams, so I really like this competition. I think the atmosphere is always really, really good.”
Ander Herrera celebrates scoring the winner against Tottenham in the 2018 FA Cup semi-final.

Ander has already faced Arsenal in the competition in his time at the Reds, yet it was a disappointing evening in 2015, as we lost 2-1 to the Gunners in the quarter-finals.

However, four years on, both clubs have changed significantly and Herrera is hoping for a different outcome this time around.

“It’s a game between the most successful clubs in this competition, so it’s going to be exciting," he said. 

“It’s a new challenge for us. We are in a very good moment, in a very good run of results, but Arsenal is a new challenge. They come from that victory against Chelsea, so they will be full of confidence as well, but I think we are in a good moment.

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“We don’t fear anyone. I think we have the qualities in the squad to beat any team and we go there without fear. Everyone wants to beat Manchester United, but that’s something that we are used to coping with.”

During that FA Cup meeting in 2015, Alexis Sanchez was playing for the Gunners. This week marked a year since the attacker joined United from the London club and Herrera believes there is plenty more to come from the Chilean.

“He [Alexis] did amazing for them,” said United’s number 21. “He was the best player for them every single season he was there, so I think Arsenal fans will receive him in a good way, because he has been fantastic for them. 

“He has given everything and now we have him. Now we want to enjoy him. His character makes him a really special player and I think we are going to see the best of Alexis in 2019.”

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