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HomeFA CupTen Hag: Man United lacked discipline in Coventry cup scare

Ten Hag: Man United lacked discipline in Coventry cup scare

Manchester United will meet Manchester City in the FA Cup final for the second successive season after beating Coventry City on penalties in a semi-final thriller.

Erik ten Hag’s team needed a shootout to get past the Championship side after squandering a 3-0 lead in an all-time classic at Wembley.

Scott McTominay opened the scoring in the semi-final and all roads appeared to lead to a comfortable win for the Red Devils when Harry Maguire headed in the second in first-half stoppage time.

 

Bruno Fernandes extended the advantage on 58 minutes, before Coventry launched an astonishing comeback that could – and perhaps should – have led to a place in the FA Cup final. The Sky Blues pulled one back through leading scorer Ellis Simms, and Callum O’Hare’s deflected goal eight minutes later set up a nervous finish.

Viktor Torp hit the woodwork for Coventry with a thunderous drive, as the second-tier side created chances in search of a leveller.

The equaliser arrived deep into stoppage time when Coventry were awarded a penalty for an Aaron Wan-Bissaka handball and Haji Wright kept his cool to send the tie into extra time.

Both teams hit the woodwork in the additional period through Bruno Fernandes and Ellis Simms, before a dramatic conclusion as Coventry looked to have won it. Wright was played in down the left and his pull-back was turned home by Torp, sparking wild celebrations inside Wembley. United appealed, and Wright was adjudged a fraction offside in the build-up.

In the shootout, Casemiro missed first for Manchester United, though Andre Onana saved from O’Hare to restore terms. Ben Sheaf then skied his effort over for Coventry, allowing Rasmus Hojlund to convert the winning kick and send a relieved Manchester United into the final.

Ten Hag admitted his side lacked discipline in squandering their comfortable lead, though praised the resilience of his players to hold their nerve in the shootout and reach back-to-back FA Cup finals.

“It was an incredible game, a strange game too. We had total control for so long and then gave it away in the last part of the game. We did show resilience to win the penalty shootout,” Ten Hag said to ITV.

“We had control for 75 minutes and have to give Coventry a compliment for what they did in the last 15 minutes.

“We have to improve. We talk a lot about this. First you have to put yourself in a winning position but then you have to take it over the line. In these moments we are making mistakes and not keeping our responsibilities.

“We can’t say this group doesn’t have the right mentality because they showed character today, but in the final part there was a lack of discipline.

 

“We have to keep the ball, keep making passes, go for goal and then also be strong in defence. It’s about communication and we have to improve on this.”

The Manchester United players were reluctant to celebrate their shootout win with relief the overriding emotion when Hojlund converted the decisive kick. Asked on the feeling in his squad in the dressing room, Ten Hag added.

“It’s mixed feelings. We can be happy with the achievement, getting to the final, that’s huge.

“Even the big Manchester United only achieved it three times and we achieved it twice in two years. We need to win that final though. When we 100% in it then we can do it.

“I want to win it. I’m sure we have a good chance to win this final, although we play the best team in the world. We do have a chance though. We showed that this season.

“This season has had many ups but also many downs. Winning the FA Cup doesn’t make it successful, we want to win more. We have been in three finals in two years, which is good, but we had a lot of setbacks this season.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries and hopefully those players can be back for the final. If we go with a squad who believe then we have a chance to win a trophy.”

Read – Maguire admits ‘world wanted’ Coventry to win semi-final

See more – Robins proud of courageous Coventry performance at Wembley

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