Louis van Gaal believes that his side will be forced to overcome opposition from pretty much the entire footballing world if they are to be victorious this week, simply by virtue of being Manchester United.
Speaking ahead of their FA Cup fourth round replay against Cambridge United, the Old trafford club's manager warned his squad that they will have to be extremely focused for the match, as pretty much everyone will want them to lose.
"What I have already said is that everything is against you at Manchester United" - Louis van Gaal
The match, at Old Trafford, will be a huge occasion for the League Two side, who earned it with a spirited display in the original tie at the Abbey Stadium last month and holding out for a goalless draw and the lucrative trip to the Premier League side's stadium.
While there is little hope of an upset, the biggest shocks in the fourth round will give The U's lots of belief going into the match on Tuesday night. Seeing Bradford City win at Chelsea and Middlesborough prevailing at Manchester City should provide plenty of inspiration.
“What I have already said is that everything is against you at Manchester United and everything is in favour of the underdog,” Van Gaal is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror ahead of the match.
“People shall not do it consciously but sub-consciously. So that’s our warning for Tuesday. But in spite of all the criticism we’ve had, we’re still in the FA Cup and a lot of teams are not."
"So I’m still happy that we can play this match, but we have to win because they are coming with two rows of four and a goalkeeper and dropping in a striker. We have to score the first goal, because that’s the most important goal, so it’s not such an easy game.”
Jose Mourinho described his side's 4-2 loss as "shameful" and admitted that it was his worst ever experience as a football manager, especially as they had been 2-0 up in the first half. So if Cambridge can be inspired by the Bradford win, so can the Red Devils players.
Victory is a must for Van Gaal as he has already had to endure humiliation as the hands of lower league opposition in a cup competition this season. MK Dons thrashed United 4-0 in August to dump them out of the Capital One Cup at only the second round stage.
With no European football this season, it was defeat the Dutch coach could have done without and meant one of their limited chanced of silverware were gone. The FA Cup remains their last chance of glory this season, as a title bid is now probably out of the question.
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