Your Monday Briefing is here to collate nine Manchester United headlines from the weekend…
That was the score in Saturday night’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford, when the Reds booked a trip to Wembley Stadium thanks to headed goals from summer signings Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic. The match was played in blizzard conditions that had engulfed Manchester and much of the North West, rendering it a testing evening for everyone at the Theatre of Dreams.
MATIC WAS MAN OF THE MATCH
The Serbian was crowned our star man by followers of @ManUtd on Twitter, after crossing for Lukaku’s opener and tucking away the clincher in front of the Stretford End. He received a massive 80 per cent of the final vote and later spoke to MUTV about the result.
“It’s been difficult for us after the defeat against Sevilla, of course,”Nemanja told us.
“We always said after the Sevilla game that it was very important to see a reaction and I am happy that we went through.”
FA Cup highlights: United 2 Brighton 0Video
Matic: Romelu deserves all of the praiseVideo
LUKAKU IS IN TOP FORM
Romelu has scored 12 goals in his last 11 FA Cup appearances and, coincidentally, the only match he failed to score in of those 11 was against United with Everton in April 2016, when he had a penalty saved by David De Gea. Furthermore, the Belgian has been directly involved in 14 goals in his 14 appearances in 2018 (10 goals, four assists). Well played, big man!
HAPPY WITH THE RESULT, NOT THE PERFORMANCE
“I am happy that we go to Wembley again,” said a straight-talking Jose Mourinho after the final whistle at Old Trafford.
“I am happy with the qualification to the semi-final, but I am not happy with the performance. I expected more. We need more personality. Personality has a big influence in the quality that you show. I think Matic was, by far, the best player in the team. Clearly, the personality, the desire, no fear to play, no fear to make mistakes. The team didn’t play as well as we prepared.”
Jose's verdict on United 2 Brighton 0Video
United v Brighton Gallery
The standout photos from a cold and snowy Old Trafford.
THE SEMI-FINAL DRAW
United will face Tottenham Hotspur in the last four over the weekend of 21-22 April. Wembley is Spurs’ 'home' ground this season and the Reds lost the league encounter there in January, but won the reverse fixture earlier in the season with a goal from Anthony Martial. The other semi-final pits Chelsea, who beat Leicester City 2-1 after extra-time on Sunday, against Southampton, who overcame Wigan Athletic 2-0.
FAN EXPERIMENT DEEMED A SUCCESS
Due to Brighton’s fans being housed in the East Stand, up to 1,400 like-minded Reds sat in the L Stand (the usual away end) in a bid to improve the Old Trafford atmosphere. The trial was proposed by season-ticket holders from the J Stand and early feedback suggests it was a great success.
FIVE GOALS FOR THE UNDER-18S
Well done to @MUFC_TheRedArmy and all the reds for rocking the L stand, had a great night. Would love to see this week in week out and spread out in to other stands. Come on reds 🔴🔴🔴 pic.twitter.com/lxXEGz1nFX— ShadowTaizer (@ShadowTaizer) March 18, 2018
United’s Under-18s stormed to another convincing victory in snowy conditions at the Aon Training Complex on Saturday morning, to keep well on track in the title race. Nishan Burkart, James Garner, Mason Greenwood, Dylan Levitt and D'Mani Mellor all scored for Kieran McKenna’s leaders.
It's snow problem! Gallery
Blizzard conditions could not prevent Kieran McKenna's Under-18s on Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, United Reserves’ fight to stay in Premier League 2 Division 1 received a setback with a 2-0 defeat at Swansea City on Sunday. Two first-half goals from Botti Biabi and Adnan Maric were sufficient to give the hosts the victory, leaving Ricky Sbragia’s side with much work to do in the quest for survival.
A MIXED WEEKEND FOR LOAN STARS
Dean Henderson made his 37th appearance for Shrewsbury Town as they won 2-1 at Scunthorpe in League One. Elsewhere, Sam Johnstone's Aston Villa suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Bolton Wanderers, where Axel Tuanzebe was not involved. Tim Fosu-Mensah, Andreas Pereira, James Wilson, Matty Willock and Charlie Scott did not feature for Crystal Palace, Valencia, Sheffield United, St. Johnstone or Hamilton respectively.
THE INTERNATIONAL BREAK IS UPON US
Next stop 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/ZU97N0mNei— Matteo Darmian (@DarmianOfficial) March 18, 2018
A large part of our squad has departed Manchester to represent their individual countries over the next fortnight, with friendlies due to run from Friday until Tuesday, ahead of this summer’s World Cup finals. MUTV subscribers can watch France versus Russia on 27 March, with kick-off set for 16:50 BST.