Jose Mourinho plays down Wembley disadvantage ahead of FA Cup Semi-Final

by Alex Turk

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho disagrees with suggestions that his side will be at a disadvantage when they face Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup Semi-Finals at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening.

The development of the new ‘Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’ began in 2015 and is expected to be completed in time for next season, and the latter stages of construction required the famous White Hart Lane to be demolished at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, one day after Spurs defeated United 2-1 in the ground’s curtain-closer.

While finishing touches have been made to the Londoners’ new stadium, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have played their home matches at the national venue Wembley throughout the 2017-18 season, which has led to questions regarding whether they may obtain an advantage over their opponents in the final stages of the FA Cup.

United manager played down that theory in his pre-match press conference though, stating that in a game of such magnitude as this one, where it is played does not have an effect on players.

Speaking to the press in London after taking training at Fulham’s Craven Cottage instead of travelling back up to Manchester after Wednesday’s 2-0 win at AFC Bournemouth, Mourinho explained: “I played one cup final at Roma’s stadium against Roma and I won and I played a cup final in my stadium [Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as Real Madrid manager] and I lost.

“Therefore, I think when you go into these big moments with these big decisions, semi-finals, finals, I don’t think it’s an advantage.”

Manchester United defeated Championship outfit Derby County and Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford, as well as Huddersfield Town to make it into the FA Cup Semi-Finals, and the Portuguese boss seemed pretty content about the situation surrounding Saturday’s stadium.

He added: “I think we have to look at it in the same way that we do when we had Derby at Old Trafford, Brighton at Old Trafford and Huddersfield away. Sometimes it’s at home, sometimes it’s away. This time it’s away, but I don’t see any advantage. For me, it’s the same as playing at Old Trafford.”

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