Man Utd v Tottenham preview: FA Cup semi-final pits heavyweights together
Last Updated: 21/04/18 7:54pm
Mauricio Pochettino emphasised his view that a first FA Cup win in 29 years would not change Tottenham as a club, as they prepare to face Manchester United in Saturday's semi-final at Wembley (kick-off 5.15pm).
Spurs have been criticised for their lack of silverware in the current era, winning their last trophy in 2008 when Juande Ramos' side overcame Chelsea in the League Cup final.
While Pochettino has established the club in the top four, he has yet to earn any league or cup titles with them, although they are in the FA Cup final four for the second season in a row.
The Argentine says Champions League or Premier League glory would help define his tenure at the Spurs helm - but that an FA Cup trophy would not be the be all and end all for them.
"It's fantastic if Southampton, Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham will win the FA Cup," he said.
"Is it going to change our life? I don't believe, I don't believe. Who needs it more, I don't know. We are going to try and fight to win.
"It would be fantastic to finish the season with a trophy. I don't think it's about need or not need."
Jose Mourinho has won the FA Cup just once as manager, with Chelsea in 2007, but his United side will be going full-pelt for this trophy and they haven't conceded in this year's competition. United are looking to reach their 20th FA Cup final, equalling Arsenal's all-time record.
Manchester United have their first-choice line-up available.
Striker Romelu Lukaku and midfielder Nemanja Matic are among those likely to return to the starting XI after playing substitute roles at Bournemouth.
Back-up goalkeeper Sergio Romero has been out since sustaining a back problem on international duty with Argentina and is the only injury absentee, with Daley Blind returning against the Cherries.
Tottenham are set to recall Dele Alli for the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United.
Alli was rested for the midweek draw at Brighton as one of six changes made by boss Mauricio Pochettino, who must decide whether to pick regular FA Cup goalkeeper Michel Vorm or stick with Hugo Lloris.
Danny Rose (calf) is still missing while Harry Winks (ankle) is a long-term injury victim.
This will be Manchester United's 29th appearance in the FA Cup semi-finals - equalling Arsenal's record set last season.
Tottenham have lost each of their last seven FA Cup semi-final ties - the longest such run in the competition's history.
After a run of progressing from 13 straight FA Cup semi-finals, the Red Devils have been eliminated from two of their last three (2009 vs Everton and 2011 vs Man City).
This will be the fourth occasion of the same two teams playing against each other at Wembley in different competitions within the same season. The others were Liverpool v West Ham in 1980-81, Arsenal v Sheffield Wednesday in 1992-93 and Tottenham v West Ham this season.
Man Utd have won each of their last three FA Cup ties against Tottenham (1997, 2008 and 2009), last losing to them in a third-round replay in January 1980.
Spurs have won three of their last five meetings with Man Utd in all competitions (L2), as many as they had in their previous 36 against them.
Romelu Lukaku has scored in each round Man Utd have played in so far this season, netting five goals in total.
The semi-finals is where the FA Cup livens up, they're always big matches. I was lucky enough to play in a few and you don't want to lose.
This one is a massive match because I don't know where these two teams are going if they lose this one. There will be a lot of questions for whichever team loses this game.
You have to remember what happened to Tottenham last week. People were telling me this is an up-and-coming team and they'll be challenging for the league - they were a million miles behind City. You wouldn't have thought they were in the same league. Now we're saying, when are Tottenham going to start winning anything? You've got to win now. Otherwise, the players start asking questions.
A lot depends on this game. Watch this space for either team. If I'm a United fan, if they win the FA Cup at least I'd sit there and go, 'You know what, we won the FA Cup, come second in the league, let's see next season'. If they lose this, you'll be wondering, 'Where are we going from here?'. It was a shocking result against West Brom, and it all comes down to this game.
I'm going to favour United here because Jose Mourinho gets the tune in big football matches, and Spurs haven't really done that.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (10-1 with Sky Bet)