LUS : US S
●● difference and the Basque has this week risen to the heights of last season when he was touted as a future captain.
This was also another triumph for Mourinho against Mauricio Pochettino, whose fourth season is to end trophyless.
The ramifications of that could be severe in the summer and there was some devilment about United’s winner, where they exposed the suspect Davinson Sanchez, questionably selected ahead of the fit Toby Alderweireld. Alderweireld could join United in the summer.
This semi-final started at a breathless and brilliant pace.
In the 11th minute the Reds, attempting to prevent Tottenham from playing out from the back, had Herrera pushed high up the pitch but that is unlikely to have been leftback Ashley Young’s remit. The 32-year-old got too ahead of himself – literally – and Christian Eriksen had a free run down the right before he whipped the ball in for Dele Alli to steer past David de Gea.
United were not behind for long. Pogba saw-off the muscular Mousa Dembele on the far side, lifted his head, noticed Sanchez and plucked out the sand wedge. The precision was perfect and the striker finished deftly on 24 minutes.
Spurs, mindful of United’s recent recoveries and the victims of a couple themselves this century, must have felt a pang of regret at not extending their advantage. They were a width of a post away from regaining the lead when Eric Dier’s stoppage-time effort grazed Chris Smalling and trickled onto the upright.
Mourinho’s game-management told after halftime, the tempo was reduced from chaotic to calm and United’s defensive shape was no longer disjointed.
The Reds targeted Davinson Sanchez in last year’s Europa League final defeat of Ajax by allowing him to have the ball on the deck, and at Wembley they overcame him in the air. The Colombian missed De Gea’s punt, Alexis Sanchez ran in behind to feed the ball to Herrera and the comeback was completed.
Lads, it’s Tottenham.
Ander Herrera celebrates with Jesse Lingard after scoring United’s winner