Huddersfield v Manchester United preview: FA Cup game is present for fans, says David Wagner
Last Updated: 17/02/18 5:31pm
Huddersfield are targeting a first FA Cup quarter-final since 1972 as they look to beat Manchester United on home soil for the second time this season.
The Terriers have won their last two games 4-1, including a surprise result against in-form Bournemouth on Sunday.
Steve Mounie is hoping to continue a run of three goals in his last four games, but manager David Wagner knows it will be difficult to repeat Huddersfield's memorable 2-1 win over United from October.
Ahead of Saturday's home tie (kick-off 5.30pm), he said: "The priority since day one has been the Premier League. This doesn't mean we don't like to be successful in the other competitions as well.
"We will not worry about this situation. It is our present for our fans that we play Man Utd in the fifth round of the FA Cup at home - the oldest competition in the world.
"It's a great occasion, a great situation, a great moment even if we have some injury problems.
"It's the cup so we can play this game with all the freedom we have against one of the biggest names in world football at the John Smith's Stadium."
Jose Mourinho concentrated on the form of Paul Pogba in the build-up to the game, calling reports of a breakdown between himself and the France international as lies.
"It's very difficult to put me in a position where I have to criticise my players," said Mourinho when quizzed on Pogba's lack of form, which saw the £89m midfielder dropped when United last faced Huddersfield a fortnight ago.
"It is my problem, it is the player's problem. A big lie that our relationship is not good, a big lie that we don't communicate, a big lie that we don't agree with his positions and his involvement in the dynamic of the team.
"So, be objective and say what we all know - in the last couple of matches he didn't play well. Period. End of story."
Huddersfield pair Chris Lowe and Michael Hefele will miss out due to a hamstring strain and illness respectively, while January signing Alex Pritchard is cup-tied. Aaron Mooy has been ruled out for up to three weeks due to an injury setback.
But striker Laurent Depoitre, who scored in Town's 2-1 win against Jose Mourinho's side in October, will be fit after an ankle injury and midfielder Danny Williams (dead leg) is also back in contention.
Eric Bailly is in line for a return after three months out with injury, but both Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford will definitely miss the game.
Paul Pogba will start, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in first-team training. Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind are recovering but are not ready to return.
Huddersfield have won just one of their last 13 games in all competitions against Man Utd (D3 L9), though that win did come at the John Smith's Stadium earlier this season (2-1).
Man Utd have won two of their three FA Cup ties against Huddersfield, most recently winning 5-0 in a third-round tie in January 1963, United legend Denis Law scoring a hat-trick in that game.
The Terriers haven't reached the FA Cup quarter-finals since the 1971-72 campaign, losing each of their last five fifth-round ties, including in a replay against Manchester City in last season's competition.
Man Utd have progressed past the fifth round on each of the last eight occasions they've reached this stage - the last two clubs to eliminate them at this stage have gone on to win the trophy (Liverpool 2005-06, Arsenal 2002-03).
Huddersfield have won their last two games by the same scoreline, 4-1. They last scored 4+ goals in three consecutive matches back in January 1928.
Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 15 goals in 15 appearances in the FA Cup (eight goals and seven assists).
After last Sunday you've got to think Huddersfield must fancy a repeat of their victory back in October. Jose Mourinho won't want his side embarrassed twice but they have a Champions League tie in Seville midweek to think about.
Manchester United are going through this dilemma as to how they fit in Alexis Sanchez. They want to give him the free role but that means Paul Pogba can't have that freedom.
Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard have gone a bit cold after doing so well, so I can see another dangerous game for United.
Charlie predicts: 2-2 and Sanchez to score first (55/1 with Sky Bet)