Jose defends lack of titles

Mourinho plays down importance of Cup win as he highlights United's EPL improvement

LONDON • Manager Jose Mourinho insisted that Manchester United's season will not feel like a failure even if they do not lift the FA Cup.

The FA Cup represents the Red Devils' last chance at silverware this term and they can take a huge step towards lifting that trophy by beating Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals today.

Asked if his sentiments stem from the progress United have made this campaign, the Portuguese simply replied: "Yes."

He has stressed on numerous occasions that United have more points in the Premier League than at the end of last season, with more goals scored and fewer conceded.

But he has also reminded people of his ability to win trophies - "eight titles (in England) and three Premier Leagues" - in a week when rival Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side were crowned champions of England.

And Mourinho remained unfazed at the prospect of facing Spurs at Wembley - Tottenham's temporary home while their new 61,500-seat stadium is being built.

"Look, I played one Cup final in Roma stadium against Roma and I won, and I play a Cup final in my stadium and I lost," he told a press conference yesterday.

"So I think when you go to this big moments, with this big decisions, semi-finals, finals, I don't think it's an advantage at all.

"In some countries, even the Cup semi-final is played with a draw and you play at home or away, not a neutral ground like in England and that's just football.

"This time is away but I don't see any advantage, for me it's the same as playing at Old Trafford."

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino does not think his side will have an advantage today because of the venue either.

Spurs have suffered just two Premier League defeats at Wembley all season, and beat Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Arsenal and United.

"Of course, we feel at home," Pochettino said.

"But it's different to when we play in the Premier League. I don't believe (we will have an advantage) because Manchester United have the experience (of playing) at Wembley, too. It's not an event just for us."

It will be United's 29th appearance in an FA Cup semi-final, with their most recent win in the competition coming in 2016.

Tottenham, who last lifted the trophy in 1991, have suffered defeats in each of their last seven semi-finals in the competition.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2018, with the headline 'Jose defends lack of titles'. Print Edition | Subscribe