Man United beat Brighton, reach FA Cup semis thanks to Jose Mourinho's 'favourites'

Man United beat Brighton, reach FA Cup semis thanks to Jose Mourinho's 'favourites'
From ESPN - March 17, 2018

MANCHESTER, England -- Three points as Manchester United beat Brighton 2-0 at Old Trafford to book their place in the semifinals of the FA Cup.

1.Mourinho's favourites secure United Wembley trip

Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic were the only Manchester United players to come out of Jose Mourinho's 12-minute new conference rant with any credit.

And when the Portuguese coach needed a result after Champions League humiliation against Sevilla on Tuesday night, it was his two favourites who scored the goals to secure an FA Cup semifinal at Wembley and ensure United still have a trophy to play for.

Mourinho said before the game he had picked a team that "deserved" to play. That meant there was no place for Alexis Sanchez -- the first time the Chilean has not started since joining from Arsenal in January -- or Paul Pogba, despite the Frenchman playing just 30 minutes against Sevilla.

Sanchez and Pogba were pointedly left out of Mourinho's impassioned new conference speech as the United boss name-checked the players the next manager will be happy to inherit.

Two he mentioned, Matic and Lukaku, were responsible for United's opening goal.

They had not created that much of note before Luke Shaw, in the team in place of Ashley Young, rolled the ball back to Matic in the 37th minute.

The Serbian's delicate first-time cross looped towards the back post where Lukaku powered over Lewis Dunk to head past Tim Krul.

It was the Belgian's 12th goal in his last 11 FA Cup ties and maintained his record of scoring in every round this season. He has got 25 for the season, just one shy of his total for Everton last year. With more questions than answers about Sanchez and Pogba, Lukaku is proving his doubters wrong.

As if to prove Mourinho's point about Lukaku and Matic -- the two players he said on Friday have performed since "day one" -- it was Matic who made the game safe in the second half.

Young, on for Shaw at half-time, swung in a free kick seven minutes from time and the midfielder headed in at the back post.

It was far from a vintage performance and Sergio Romero was forced into making a good save in each half. But at the end of a week when Mourinho has come under fire for the first time at Old Trafford, his two stars eased the pressure.

2.Shaw running out of chances

Asked about Luke Shaw's chances of making it to the World Cup with England in the summer, Gareth Southgate insisted Jose Mourinho was "happy" with the left-back.


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