Man United Clinch a Nervy Wembley Affair

In a captivating FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley Stadium, Manchester United emerged victorious against Coventry City, prevailing 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in regulation and extra time. This win sets up a rematch of last year’s final against local rivals Manchester City.

Despite the tense victory, United manager Erik Ten Hag conceded that his side had “got away with it” against the Championship team. Coventry City staged a remarkable comeback from a 3-0 deficit, only to have a potential extra-time winner disallowed for a narrow offside.

While the performance raised questions about United’s consistency under Ten Hag’s leadership, the Dutch manager chose to focus on the achievement rather than the shortcomings.

Ten Hag commented, “I wouldn’t use the word ’embarrassment’ because, ultimately, it’s about reaching the final. We are aware of our mistakes, but it’s a significant accomplishment. Even United’s dominant teams from a decade ago reached the final only three times. We’ve done it twice in two years, which is commendable.”

He added, “Our performance levels fluctuate greatly within the same match, and that inconsistency needs to be addressed. We need to manage games better and learn from these situations. Today, we managed to escape with a win.”

United had appeared to be in control of the match with goals from Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire, and Bruno Fernandes. However, Coventry City, currently eighth in the Championship, mounted a spirited comeback with goals from Ellis Simms, Callum O’Hare, and a stoppage-time penalty by Haji Wright.

Both teams hit the woodwork in extra time, with Victor Torp’s late effort being ruled out for a marginal offside following a VAR review.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Coventry City manager Mark Robins refused to dwell on feelings of injustice, acknowledging the correctness of the VAR decision.

Robins stated, “If it’s the right decision, it’s the right decision. It was a close call, but that’s football. This FA Cup run will be remembered fondly by Coventry City fans. We went toe-to-toe with Manchester United, staged a remarkable comeback, and nearly clinched a historic win.”

 He continued, “We played like Manchester United in the last half-hour, and that’s something to be proud of. While disappointed, we won’t wallow in self-pity. We’ve made significant progress, and we’ll continue to move forward.”

Fans and Pundits do agree with Ten Hags Comments 

Regrettably, for Erik ten Hag’s team, this continues a troubling pattern in what has been a consistently challenging season.

 Manchester United’s lack of resilience has been evident throughout the campaign, a point emphasized by Roy Keane in his post-match comments on ITV: “I don’t see resilience in this team. I’m reaching a point where I’m genuinely disheartened by their performance.”

 This deficiency in leadership was glaringly apparent when United squandered a late lead to lose 3-2 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Despite holding a 3-2 advantage deep into stoppage time, they conceded two goals, handing all three points to Chelsea courtesy of Cole Palmer’s strikes.

 This collapse came shortly after another late equalizer conceded to Brentford, costing them valuable points and highlighting a worrying trend of conceding late goals.

 The issues have been persistent throughout the season, with their Champions League campaign marred by similar lapses. United surrendered two-goal leads in crucial away fixtures against FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray, ultimately missing out on a spot in the competition’s knockout stages.

 INEOS faces a significant rebuilding task this summer, with the team’s lack of mental fortitude under pressure standing out as a top priority. A team cannot realistically compete at the highest level when they crumble so easily, as has become expected of this United side.

 While fans hope for a positive end to the season with Bruno Fernandes lifting the FA Cup, the fact that such an outcome is seen as miraculous highlights the deep-rooted issues currently plaguing the club.