Mourinho excited ahead of United’s EFL Cup semi-final

Date published: Thursday 26th January 2017 8:05

Jose Mourinho has the taste for another big occasion as he seeks to guide Manchester United to the EFL Cup final tonight.

United are on course to secure a place in February’s showpiece at Wembley, where they would play Southampton, after beating Hull 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final a fortnight ago.

Completing the job at the KCOM Stadium would put Mourinho in sight of a first trophy as United boss and a fourth success in this competition after three triumphs with Chelsea.
It is such occasions the Portuguese thrives on.

“I have a special feeling for every competition,” he said. “Every club should enjoy being in big matches, in finals. It doesn’t matter how many titles the club won before.

“I think we should be really focused on trying to go to the final. It’s Wembley, it’s a title, it’s an occasion for a demonstration of love for the club with 30-40,000 fans travelling to London. I would like to go to the final.”

The match could see the return of England defender Luke Shaw, who has not played since the quarter-final victory over West Ham on November 30 due to a groin injury.

The 21-year-old left-back, who missed most of last season with a broken leg and has been troubled by a number of problems this term, has been back in training for a fortnight.

If Shaw does not feature, Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie again Wigan is another comeback possibility.

Mourinho said: “He is ready to play now. If he plays tonight or Sunday or next Wednesday, he’s not working with limitations so now he’s ready.

“But it’s a position where we have other options too. It’s one of the positions where they have to fight, they have to compete, they have to show quality and stability in their performances to be in the team.”

Hull’s preparations have been overshadowed by midfielder Ryan Mason’s serious head injury and the pending departure of star player Robert Snodgrass.

Midfielder Mason is recovering in London’s St Mary’s Hospital following surgery on Sunday night to repair his fractured skull, sustained in the defeat at Chelsea earlier on the same day.

Snodgrass, meanwhile, must decide where his future lies. Hull accepted a bid of around £10million from Burnley on Wednesday, but both Middlesbrough and West Ham have also been reported to have had offers accepted for the Scotland international.

Tigers head coach Marco Silva, yet to confirm whether the club have received international clearance in time for Liverpool loanee Lazar Markovic to make his debut, said his main focus was on Mason’s continued progress.

But the Portuguese added: “It’s our obligation to think it’s possible that we can play in the final.

“The first result is good for our opponent, for Man United. It puts them in a more comfortable situation.

“But we will try. It’s not easy because in the next 10-11 days we have four more games.

“At this moment, in many positions we need to do something – rotation is not easy for us, but we will try to rotate and do everything to put our team in a position to fight for the game.”

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