Friday 16 March 2018

Match preview: United v Brighton&Hove Albion

Jose Mourinho's pre-match press conference was overshadowed by a remarkably honest and passionate outburst from the under-fire United manager. After being pilloried by all-comers in the wake of the Reds Champions League defeat to Sevilla, Jose launced into a 12-minute monologue in which he defended his record, blasted his critics and spoke about the club's football heritage in comparison to cross-town rivals City.

"I am here, I am alive, and I am not going to run away and hide, cry, because of a few boos, I am not afraid of my resposibilities. The fans have a right to their opinions and reactions but there is something that I call football heritage.
"Seven years with four different managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in the group stage and the best was the quarter-final, in the league the last victory was 2013 and since then seventh, fifth, fourth and sixth, so in the last four years the best was fourth and this is football heritage.
"Every match is different and every match is important, some fans I am sure would not change a victory against Liverpool for victory over Sevilla even if the defeat to Sevilla means we end the competition, but for me, I am not very objective and I treat every match the same."

Chris Hughton brings his Brighton side to Old Trafford with a place in a Wembley semi final up for grabs for a strange 7.45 kick off on Saturday evening - in a repeat of the famous 1983 final between the sides. Before Tuesday night's aborration against Sevilla which knocked United out of Europe at the last 16 stage, United had won three on the bounce and will target the visit of the high-flying Seagulls to return to winning ways in the third of four consecutive home ties. Mourinho looks set to name a strong side, with Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial in contention to start after injury. Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all missed out recently, and none of the quintet are likely to feature. Brighton will be without the suspended Anthony Knockaert, sent off in last weekend's loss against Everton. Steve Sidwell is injured, with fellow midfield man Dale Stephens and full-back Gaetan Bong also touch and go with minor injuries. Tim Krul could start in goal ahead of regular number one Mat Ryan.
 This is United's fourth consecutive last eight tie, with the Reds now favourites to go all the way and lift the famous trophy for a record-equalling 13th time after Manchester City's quadruple charge was ended by League One Wigan. We've seen off Derby County, Yeovil Town and Huddersfield to set up this tie with the south coast club - who have defied expectations in their first ever Premier League campaign. Brighton sit eleventh in the table and are into a first quarter final since 1986.There are no replays from the last eight onwards, meaning the tie will be played to finish on the day with extra-time and penalties if required.

Form guide: United W D W W W L Brighton&Hove Albion W D W W W L
Match odds: United 1/3 Draw 12/5 Brighton&Hove Albion 11/3
Referee: Andre Marriner (W
est Midlands)

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