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Monday 18 June 2018

'Final won't define us'

United boss Mourinho won’t allow Cup destiny to cloud his overall judgement of the season

FINAL CALL: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping striker Romelu Lukaku will be fit for today’s FA Cup final against Chelsea. Photo: Getty Images
FINAL CALL: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping striker Romelu Lukaku will be fit for today’s FA Cup final against Chelsea. Photo: Getty Images

Jose Mourinho insists Manchester United's season will not be defined by this evening's FA Cup final.

United finished second in the Premier League, a distant 19 points behind runaway champions Manchester City, but they have the chance to round off their campaign by lifting some silverware against Chelsea at Wembley.

However, Mourinho said: "People can do what they want, you can analyse the way you want to analyse. I can also analyse the way I want to analyse.

"Of course it makes a difference, but it's one thing to make a difference and the other is to consider the season good or bad because of one match.

"I analyse the work I do, the effort I put in, and everything we all did at the club. That includes the most important persons at the club; the players.

Martial. Photo: PA Wire
Martial. Photo: PA Wire

"I'm not going to analyse them because of one - of course very important - match.

"I know the positive things and the negative things so I am not going to change my analysis of the season because of the result of one match. Not at all."

Mourinho will be desperately hoping Romelu Lukaku passes a late fitness test. The United boss was unable to confirm whether the Belgium striker would overcome the ankle injury he suffered, against Arsenal a fortnight, ago in time.

Some pundits have expressed fears the showpiece could be a dull, cagey affair, especially given some of United's less-than-cavalier performances this season.

But Mourinho countered: "I don't understand these words of entertaining. Do you think 6-0 is entertaining? I don't think so.

"I think entertaining is emotional until the end, an open result until the end, everybody on their seats until the end, both dug-outs nervous and tense with the unpredictability of the result.

"For me as a football lover, not as a manager, that's entertaining. I think it will be entertaining."

Mourinho also confirmed there would be no Wembley farewell for long-serving midfielder Michael Carrick, who retires at the end of the season.

Victory, and a 13th final success for Mourinho, would also be a 13th FA Cup for United.

"I like to play the matches," he added. "That's how you should approach finals, you shouldn't go to finals less than very happy. That's the point.

"If you give me the choice of finish the (last) match against Watford and go on holiday, or be working one more week to play a beautiful final, of course I want to play the beautiful final, and I'm sorry I don't have one more week to work until the Champions League final.

"Everybody wants to play finals. You have to be happy. Not nervous. Anxiety is normal but you have to go with happiness."

Speculation remains rife that this evening's final will be Antonio Conte's last in charge of the Blues, but Mourinho says that will have no bearing on the outcome.

"Honestly I still don't know what his situation is," said Mourinho, who has buried the hatchet with the Italian following their war of words earlier this season.

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