Manchester United can end their drought of major titles since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson after the Red Devils came from behind to beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final with just 10 men.
Louis van Gaal’s men showed sporting courage especially after Jason Puncheon’s far-post finish that allowed Palace to move ahead with just 12 minutes left.
Palace manager Alan Pardew displayed some eccentric dance moves as his team scored the first goal, but will regret not continue urging his players to close up their defense and strive for their second.
The inevitable retaliation for Pardew’s arrogance came in just 4 minutes, as United and England Captain Wayne Rooney led a charge that ended with Juan Mata’s close ranged finish. Rooney proved his critics wrong once more as he maintained influence in this vital game and added a missing medal to his trophy collection.
Things took a turn for the worse for United as defender Chris Smalling got sent off in extra time after gathering two yellow cards. However, Jesse Lingard helped his team end their season on a better note by hammering in the winning goal, a first-time strike from Damien Delaney’s half clearance.
But the victory almost seem to dull in comparison to the news that Jose Mourinho is set to take charge of Manchester United with the departure of current manager Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal appeared defiant during the press conference after the FA Cup victory, brandishing the team’s trophy.
“I show you the Cup, I don’t discuss my future with the media,” he said defiantly. “Some of you have had me sacked already.”
However, as he bid goodbye to staff members before he left London, van Gaal told them he did not know if he would see them again, although the 64-year-old said later he still “hoped” to be in charge for the final year of his three-year contract.
He said “it’s over” when a reporter approached him– but he is said to have been referring to his side’s season rather than his own job.
Despite Mourinho being out of work since being sacked from Chelsea last Decembe, when the executive vice chairman Ed Woodward finally made a move for him this month, the Portuguese had been drawing up a list of potential acquisitions in the expectation of being offered the job.
He has identified Andre Gomes, Joao Mario, John Stones, Alvaro Morata, Mauro Icardi and Ezequiel Garay as summer targets for Manchester United as part of an anticipated minimum £150m spend.
But he will have his work cut out for him after van Gaal’s awkward style of management has caused widespread disquiet among his players. Even Michael Carrick and keeper David De Gea, both players fielded frequently by the Dutchman had been loudly considering a departure if the manager will stay in charge next season.
It is a significant steal should De Gea stay, given that the keeper has been targeted keenly by the best clubs and almost left for Real Madrid last August.