LONDON – A third cup final with Manchester United for Jose Mourinho. More F.A. Cup semifinal misery for Tottenham.
While Mauricio Pochettino wins admiration for his style of soccer, the manager has yet to actually win a trophy.
A 2-1 collapse to United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday left Tottenham reeling from an eighth successive loss in the F.A. Cup semifinals.
Pochettino is responsible for two of the setbacks, having also fallen short against Chelsea last season, plus also losing the League Cup final in 2015.
“We can’t keep doing this,” Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli said. “We can’t throw it away. We have got to improve.”
Alli’s goal gave the 1991 F.A .Cup winners hope of turning around their miserable recent record in world soccer’s oldest knockout competition.
But Alexis Sanchez leveled in the 24th minute and Ander Herrera struck the winner in the second half. It ensured Mourinho, who won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at United, has a chance to also end this campaign with silverware against Chelsea or Southampton in the F.A. Cup final.
“We’re getting used to being in finals,” Herrera said. “This club is all about titles and finals.”
While Mourinho has fallen short in the Premier League behind newly crowned champion Manchester City, United is second and on course for its highest finish since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Tottenham would settle for holding onto fourth place to secure a third season in a row in the Champions League. That ensures Tottenham lands another UEFA windfall, but not the prestige of being title winners.
Liverpool missed a chance to considerably stretch its advantage over Tottenham in one of Saturday’s two league games. Juergen Klopp’s side threw away a two-goal lead to draw with last-place West Bromwich Albion 2-2 and move only three points ahead of Tottenham.