Manchester United’s FA Cup Win Should Not Be Overshadowed by Jose Mourinho News – Bleacher Report

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At almost the exact moment Wayne Rooney graciously allowed Michael Carrick to share in the joy of lifting Manchester United‘s first FA Cup since 2004—the first of both of their highly decorated careers—BBC Sport reported that Jose Mourinho was set to take over as United boss.

This led to an unfortunate situation that saw Louis van Gaal—in what should have been a celebratory post-match press conference—asked about his United future. Either he did not know he was about to be sacked or he did a decent impression of someone who did not know he was about to be sacked.

Rooney was also asked about the potential managerial change after Saturday’s game and replied, per the Manchester Evening News:

I don’t want to speak about Louis van Gaal leaving. He’s still our manager and I think it’s a bit unfair after we’ve just won the FA Cup to speak about him as if he isn’t here. I think he’s a good manager. I’m grateful he’s helped us win this FA Cup. We’ve had a taste of success now and hopefully that can kick us on to win more.

All this lent a rather undignified air to proceedings, but none of it should overshadow the achievement Van Gaal and his squad managed in winning the first major trophy of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era at United.

After three seasons of incredibly patchy form, completely adrift from challenging for the league title or success in Europe, silverware is very much appreciated. If winning a trophy is to be Van Gaal’s final act as United manager, it will be an important one.

Mourinho should certainly be pleased to arrive at a team whose players found a way to win something. The FA Cup triumph could be seen as a catalyst—the start of a winning habit.

Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

While aspects of the cup final showed off a couple of United’s key weaknesses—Chris Smalling’s dismissal was an example—it also showed off some of their strengths, some of the significant positives Mourinho will have to work with.

Juan Mata proved once again that while he does not necessarily dictate games in the manner of the best No. 10s, he is a player capable of executing at key moments. Marcus Rashford led the line superbly—the pass he played to set up the Marouane Fellaini effort that hit the woodwork was a particular example of his talents.

Anthony Martial once again showed how dangerous he is with the ball at his feet, and he was unlucky not to have scored himself in the first half.

Rooney put in yet another fine display in midfield. The mazy run that led United’s equalising goal brought to mind a slightly slowed-down version of his UEFA Euro 2004 performance against Croatia. There are caveats to the idea United should build a midfield around him, but he clearly has something to offer there.

And the team showed plenty of spirit to battle back from both going a goal down and going a man down. Given how often that has been lacking this season, it was good to see it re-emerge on the big stage.

It is important to acknowledge any cup win must feature a healthy dose of good fortune. In this case, the draw favoured the Red Devils—they made it to the quarter finals without facing Premier League opposition.

And in the final itself, while Jesse Lingard’s winner was a thing of beauty, it would be easy to imagine him blasting the same chance over the bar. A lot of things have to fall into place to win the FA Cup—one of the reasons why it had been so long since United had last done it.

A change is obviously needed. Van Gaal’s tenure has not been good enough. But Mourinho’s impending arrival and the vast column inches it will generate should not overshadow this win. It was a long time coming, and it should be savoured on its own merits.

Manchester United’s FA Cup Win Should Not Be Overshadowed by Jose Mourinho News – Bleacher Report