Importance of final not lost on Hojlund and Garnacho

Friday 24 May 2024 11:14

Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho were 13 and 11 years old, respectively, when Manchester United last won the FA Cup, in 2016.

A lot has changed for all parties since Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick held that trophy aloft under the famous Wembley arch but the importance of the historic competition is not lost on the current Reds.

Ahead of Saturday's final, our second in successive seasons against Manchester City, the youthful pair sat down with club media to discuss ambitions, off and on-field chemistry and the 2023/24 campaign as a whole.

Rasmus, who arrived at United last summer, says that while the club is synonymous with FA Cup - we've won it 12 times -  the extra permutations of this year's final only serve as further motivation to succeed this weekend.

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"It's the oldest knockout competition ever," he began. "I think it has a special place in the history of United, but also the English community.

"I think it's a very, very special cup and I think it's something that you definitely can be very, very proud of, if you win.

"And then, of course, there's the loop for [qualifying for] Europe as well, which is quite important."

Garnacho came off the bench in last season's narrow 2-1 final defeat to City, making an impact and going narrowly close with a firmly struck bending effort that had Stefan Ortega scrambling, before it screamed wide.

Now, in a season where he has made 49 appearances for the Reds so far - the joint second-highest of any United player alongside Diogo Dalot - the Argentina international is setting his sights on capturing silverware and using it as a springboard to further development in 2024/25.

"Everyone's dream is to win trophies," the winger said.

"I won my first one last season [the Carabao Cup], my first season also. So it would be very special to win another one, and also for next season to finish this one [well], and then start the next one with with more motivation and trying to win more trophies."

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When the Reds take to the Wembley pitch on Saturday, it will be exactly two weeks since our women's side did the same. Marc Skinner's side defeated Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on that day to lift the trophy, one year after suffering defeat at the hands of Chelsea in the final.

Hojlund, who has scored 16 times in 2023/24 and finished the Premier League campaign by notching in our last two fixtures, believes that Erik ten Hag's team can take inspiration from United Women's victory, as we look to right the wrongs of 2023 when City beat us in the showcase event.

"Congratulations to them," he said.

"It would be good for the club again, if both teams can win the FA Cup.

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"That would be very, very special. I can only look forward for Saturday.

"I hope I can bring [my form] into the final. But then again, for me, the most important thing is to win. I really don't care who is going to score.

"Of course, my job as a number nine and a striker is to put the ball in the back of the net, if I get the chance, but, for me, I just hope that we can win. Getting into Europe is very important for the football club."