KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: Both managers opted for the classic league defence gambit after Manchester United beat Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley to reach the FA Cup Final.
For United’s Jose Mourinho that meant playing up the significance of finishing second in the Premier League rather than winning again at Wembley while, for Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, that meant talking up the importance of finishing fourth by comparison with having lost at Wembley.
Mourinho said: “The season will be successful for us [if we reach] 81 points because 81 points is to break the 80-point target, to finish second against an untouchable winner [Manchester City] is good, to make a lot more points and win more matches and scores more goals and concede less goals and to have better results against the top teams is a successful season.
“A cup final is a final and you have to try to try to win but I don’t think because of one win that a season is good or bad.”
Pochettino had no regrets about his team selection or tactics but he did let slip about tantalising hint that he thinks he may not be able to achieve much more with Tottenham.
He said: “We dominated the first half completely but in the second half the game was more competitive and more even. When you compete with these kind of clubs, like Manchester United, it is always 50-50 and today the victory was for them.
“In the last four years we have been building a very good team to try to create the winning mentality but at the moment it’s not enough. Tottenham need more time, whether with me or with another.”
Now the focus was on securing a place in the top four to ensure a return to the Champions League next season.
Pochettino said: “For me the most important thing is to finish in the top four, to play again in the Champions League. We are building a new stadium and to play a whole season in Wembley was difficult, stressful for the team and the fans.
“It was difficult when we started the season. I am disappointed but quickly I move on and we think to finish the season in the best possible way and it will be a successful season if we keep our position.”