Manchester United v Brighton preview: FA Cup semi-final spot up for grabs
Last Updated: 17/03/18 6:39pm
Manchester United can put their Champions League exit behind them as they host Brighton on Saturday (kick-off 7.45pm) for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Sevilla surprisingly dumped United out of the Champions League on Tuesday after winning 2-1 at Old Trafford leading to criticism of Jose Mourinho's tactical approach over the two legs.
Mourinho was in bullish mood in his pre-match press conference on Friday and defended his record in an impassioned 12-minute rant to reporters.
"When I was 20, I was nobody in football, I was somebody's son, with a lot of pride," he said.
"Now with 55 I am what I am, I did what I did, because of work and because of talent and my mentality. So they can be together.
"I understand that for many, many, many years was really, really hard for the people who don't like me - 'here he is again, here he wins again.' For 10 months I win nothing, the last title that I won was 10 months ago, I beat Liverpool, Chelsea, I lose against Sevilla and now is their moment to be happy."
Brighton manager Chris Hughton admits staying in the top flight is the Seagulls' main priority, but is excited about the chance to reach the last four of England's premier cup competition.
"We all know that the biggest priority for this football club is to make sure that we're playing Premier League football next season," he said.
"But the two are very separate. This is important for us, but we certainly see the two separate.
"You arrive at Old Trafford on Saturday and the only thing on your mind is about trying to get through, of course, to the next round."
Mourinho confirmed in his press conference that he will have the same squad to choose from as he did against Sevilla in midweek.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (knee), Daley Blind (ankle) and Ander Herrera (hamstring) are all absent while Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, who signed a new deal on Friday, are also out with knocks.
Brighton duo Gaetan Bong and Dale Stephens face late fitness tests ahead of Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United.
Full-back Bong limped off with a thigh problem during last weekend's loss at Everton, while midfielder Stephens was absent for that game due to a knock.
Albion manager Chris Hughton is expected to name a strong starting XI at Old Trafford having rotated his squad for previous rounds. He will definitely be without suspended winger Anthony Knockaert, who was sent off at Goodison Park, and long-term injury absentee Steve Sidwell (ankle).
- Manchester United and Brighton haven't met in the FA Cup since January 1993, with United winning 1-0 with a goal from Ryan Giggs.
- Man Utd have been eliminated from three of their last four FA Cup quarter-finals, progressing only in 2015/16 against West Ham after a replay; they haven't won a quarter-final without the need of a replay since 2010/11 against Arsenal.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored 11 goals in his last 10 FA Cup appearances - the only match he failed to score in of those 10 games was against Man Utd for Everton in the semi-final in April 2016.
- Brighton have lost seven and drawn one of their last eight away FA Cup matches against top-flight opposition - their last away win of this kind was at Newcastle United in January 1986.
Manchester United have to win this game after their disappointing Champions League exit. Brighton are not completely safe from relegation but they are close, so they will be able to have a go at United. But with their chances of silverware hinging on this competition, I have to go with United.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (9/2 with Sky Bet)