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So, how great was that weekend? The sun was out and Manchester United reached the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium! Here are the key points for every Red to consider…
That was the score in Saturday’s entertaining semi-final, in which Dele Alli opened the scoring for Spurs before goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera earned a top win for Jose Mourinho’s spirited side. The manager’s former club Chelsea will now provide the opposition in the final on 19 May, following their comfortable 2-0 win over Mark Hughes’ Southampton on Sunday afternoon.
How we reached the FA Cup finalVideo
The Chilean powerhouse maintained his sensational personal record at the national stadium: he has now scored eight goals in his eight appearances there for club and country, including four in semi-finals. His deft header to beat Michel Vorm contributed to him being voted our star man by fans, earning 53 per cent of our Twitter poll to finish ahead of fellow nominees Herrera and Jesse Lingard.
Jose: We deserved our Wembley winVideo
Saturday’s win leaves United on track to win a fourth trophy in Mourinho’s reign, while also leaving Spurs without a single piece of silverware of 10 whole seasons. While the Premier League title is always the ambition at Old Trafford, facts like that highlight the club is headed in the right direction.
“We should ask ourselves why there are too many critics on all of us?”suggested Jose during his post-match media commitments.
“We can finish second with six more points. And it will be a fourth final in three years. So, maybe too much criticism. The best way to answer to it is to work, to live with it, to cope with it and to fight, which is what we all did this week.”
OUR HOME FROM HOME
Much was made of Spurs having an alleged advantage, due to playing their home games at Wembley this season while their new White Hart Lane stadium is built. Yet our fans made a mockery of that suggestion with a magnificent display of support that Mourinho later described as
United 2 Spurs 1 Gallery
Swipe through the standout images from our Emirates FA Cup semi-final.
Smalling: This has been our objectiveVideo
It was a team performance, but we must mention Chris and Phil as they were both outstanding in keeping one of the world’s in-form strikers, Harry Kane, quiet.
“I enjoy playing against the best and Harry is definitely up there, so I enjoy my tussles against him and I am glad he didn’t score,”said Chris.
“It is definitely good to come out on top. That’s our job, to test ourselves against the best.”
‘WE HAVE WON NOTHING YET’
That was the message from a determined Herrera, who was excellent against Spurs and spoke passionately after the final whistle.
“We all have to stay calm and prepare for the final properly,”he said.
“We still have to play a final and a final at Wembley is always a special game; you never know what can happen. So let’s prepare properly, but now let’s focus on Arsenal (United’s next league game) because we want to finish the season in second.”
Arsene Wenger has announced he will leave the Gunners at the end of this season and a host of United legends have paid tribute to the Frenchman, including Sir Alex Ferguson. Arsenal went on to record a 4-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday and they’ll visit Old Trafford this coming weekend.
United’s Under-23s brought down the curtain on the Premier League 2 season with a good performance in a 2-2 draw against Everton at Old Trafford on Friday night, when Tahith Chong and Devonte Redmond both scored. Meanwhile, on the same evening, our title-winning Under-18s suffered a 2-1 defeat to rivals Liverpool, with Ethan Laird netting for Kieran McKenna’s side.
FURTHER EDUCATION FOR LOAN STARS
Sam Johnstone kept a clean sheet in Aston Villa's 4-0 win at Ipswich Town and Dean Henderson featured in Shrewsbury Town's 1-1 draw against Bury. Elsewhere in the Football League, James Wilson was an 81st-minute substitute in Sheffield United's 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City. Andreas Pereira played a full game for Valencia in their 1-1 La Liga draw at Celta Vigo, while Matty Willock played for 71 minutes and was booked in St Johnstone's 2-1 loss to Dundee in Scotland.