Manchester United get job done but Brighton are still the team to emulate | Jonathan Wilson
While Erik ten Hag’s side can be satisfied with a place in the FA Cup final, their opponents provide a blueprint for smart football
Semi-finals, famously, are not for playing but for winning. It doesn’t matter how you get to the final, just that you do so. Brighton will wonder how on earth they didn’t win a game they dominated for long periods, but it is Manchester United who will face Manchester City in the final on 3 June. They just have to hope spite and the desire to prevent City emulating their 1998-99 treble proves a better motivator than overcoming Roberto De Zerbi’s side.
This was not a good United performance, nothing like one. As the Wembley PA belted out “Glory, glory Man United” after the penalty shootout, it felt almost sarcastic. But it doesn’t matter. After the limp exit from the Europa League on Thursday, this felt perhaps a necessary victory. A second domestic final in the same season surely confirms that Erik ten Hag’s side is on the right track; that for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left, the club is pointing in the right direction.
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