The FA Cup triumph over Crystal Palace in 1990 launched a footballing dynasty that lasted around 25 years. Though last season’s Cup triumph at Wembley against the same team failed to launch United’s post-Ferguson dynasty, Jose Mourinho is optimistic that success in today’s final will be the first of many trophies he wins at Old Trafford. He hopes to emulate Sir Alex in setting up a springboard for future success.
Juan Mata will return in time for United’s Cup final against Southampton from Spain. The midfielder did not travel with the squad to London as he was at his late grandfather’s funeral. He will link up with the squad in London. The Spanish ace is widely expected to start the crunch clash and will have to be in top form. He is expected to play centrally following an injury to Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the midweek fixture in France.
KEY TO THE CUP
Southampton new signing Manolo Gabbiadini has hit the ground running following his January switch to the south coast. The Italian striker looks as lethal as United frontman Ibrahimovic if not more and he already has 3 goals to name in two matches. His movement off the ball and the ability to find little pockets of space can concern any defense. United’s centre-backs, whoever plays, will have to be at their suffocating best if United are to have any chance of lifting the Cup at the end of their toils.
DE GEA REPLACEMENT LINED UP
United are now frontrunners to sign £40m rated Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma from AC Milan. The teenager is being targeted by Mourinho to replace David de Gea should he make to the switch to Real Madrid. But they could end up in a bidding war with ‘noisy neighbours’ Man City who are also admirers. His displays for AC Milan has captured the attention of European Giants Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester United.
SQUAD LEAVES FOR WEMBLEY
The Manchester United contingent for the Wembley date with Southampton was seen setting off for London from Stockport Station on Saturday afternoon. The likes of captain Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba, Chris Smalling and Bastian Schweinsteiger were all photographed with club suits in hand. A 27-man squad was chosen by Mourinho to travel to London.
DE VRIJ BID?
Reports in Italy say that United will bid 30m for Lazio defender Stefan De Vrij in the summer. The defender was previously linked with the club when Louis van Gaal took over. The Italians look set to lose the talented defender who is out of contract next season and has shown no interest in staying at the club. Chelsea are also suitors but the defender prefers a switch to Manchester instead of London.