Man United are through to the EFL final against Southampton despite having their 17 match unbeaten streak come to an end at the hands of Hull.
The reds led 2-0 in the first leg but with five changes in the squad, they failed to make an impact KCOM Stadium. Former spurs player and Hull regular Tom Huddlestone put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot after several players got caught up after a set-piece with United defender Marcos Rojo pulling down Harry Maguire’s shirt which was the most visible offence for the referee to see. Moment after the penalty it gave relegated stricken Hull the momentum and confidence throughout the latter stages of the match, but their hopes of just a second domestic cup final in their 113-year history were dashed when Paul Pogba poked through the legs of Maguire and into the bottom corner from 10 yards. From here a tense finale would unfold as Rojo headed against the bar for United and the Tigers’ Oumar Niasse also struck the woodwork before he turned in David Meyler’s cross to go ahead once more.
Before last night’s events former United boss Ferguson said earlier in the week that Mourinho had “got to grips” with the head coach role at the English club and this cup final will surely only further build confidence as United remain in the hunt for a Champions League qualification berth and competitive in three cup competitions. The EFL may be considered less ‘prestigious’ than other trophies and may not be on the top of the list for their fans, but have shown a hunger to beat three Premier League teams on the way to with United coming under scrutiny at times this season
On his 54th birthday, Mourinho mixed up the team with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard favoured more than Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and United were deservedly beaten.
There were controversial moments so to speak, most notably the penalty award which was considered “soft” to some pundits and United called for a penalty of their own when Chris Smalling went down under Tom Huddlestone’s challenge just after the break.
Regardless of this, throughout the game they had less of the ball, fewer shots than Hull and were probably forced to work far harder than they thought they would have. Ultimately, though, they will bid for a fifth League Cup win.
However, despite losing. Mourinho will now see the depth of his squad tested and can now progress from this, with the final arriving on the same day United were scheduled to face Manchester City in the league and four days after the second leg of a Europa League tie at Saint-Etienne.
Can this performance give Hull resurgence?
Everyone believed that Hull stood no chance of gaining a victory tonight but showing desire and determination they could show promise which could be a necessary pre-requisite for life at the KCOM Stadium.With Hull’s league position so precarious, would the distraction of a cup final proved a nuisance for Silva?
He has a bigger battle to fight but this win showed that even with key names out, he has a squad which may have the character needed for a successful scrap against the drop.
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