In his pre-match presser ahead of the FA Cup third round against Yeovil Town on Sunday, Louis van Gaal described Cup matches as a matter of death or a floral honour in the Netherlands called the Gladioli. The 4-0 reverse at MK Dons back in August was nothing new to the Dutchman if only because he has sufferred lower league elimination from the Cups in his time at Barcelona and Ajax.
The lesson, albeit lacking in novelty, should not be lost. In all probability, United will line up against the bottom League 2 side with a much stronger side than the one knocked out of the League Cup.
It's now a full decade since we last won the FA Cup. More players at United have Champions League winners medals than have FA Cup medals. It's been an itch that we've so desperately sought to scratch except that focus on other competitions has always rendered the trophy a third alternative in the heirarchy of priorities.
With a clear schedule of fixtures between now and the end of the season, you feel that this is the best shot United have got to galvanise themselves for a real go at the FA Cup.
Indeed, this time next year, ahead of third round weekend, chances are United will be eyeing a title surge in the second half of the season above all other engagements. The manager has described it as the shortest route to success and rightly so because winning 6 games for major silverware is about as short as it can get in England.
The buzz around the club is that the players cannot wait to win the competition and so there's a real excitement about it. Well, it's as simple as taking every Cup game as seriously as we do take league matches (if we genuinely belive that we actually take league matches seriously).
Yeovil town pride themselves in being Britain's most popular giant killers in Cup competition. United are rebuilding themselves from a lot of damage sustained last season. It's important that we do not stain the rebuilding process with a result that could once again shake the confidence of the group to detrimental effect in the league.
Because it's Yeovil's biggest game in aeons, adrenaline among their players usually makes such games tough nut for top tier sides, but with patience and persistence, over 90 minutes, the resistence ought to be broken.
It should make for fantastic Sunday evening football watching from Huish Park. Let's hope for our own pride it's not as drub as the Sunday League football style we put up at Stoke on Thursday.
Labels: THE FA CUP