English Premiership

LVG ready for 'last chance' at silverware

2016-04-13 12:12
Dimitri Payet and Guillermo Varela (TEAMtalk)

Cape Town - Manchester United face a must-win encounter against West Ham in the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Upton Park on Wednesday or they will finish the season trophyless.

West Ham drew first blood in the first leg at Old Trafford when Dimitri Payet opened the scoring in the 68th minute, but Anthony Martial's 83rd-minute equaliser meant that the semi-finalist would be decided in east London.

The Hammers are battling United for an automatic place in next season's Europa League, but three successive draws against London rivals Chelsea, Crystal Palace, and Arsenal means that Slaven Bilic's men are one point behind their rivals for fifth place.

United have been unconvincing in the league in recent weeks, following up a 1-0 defeat to West Brom with back-to-back victories over Manchester City and Everton before shipping three goals in six minutes in last weekend's 3-0 defeat to Tottenham.

With United now decidedly out of the title race, and Champions League qualification a tough ask with rivals Manchester City four points ahead in fourth place, manager Louis van Gaal is targeting the cup as their best hope of calling the season a success.

"It is our last chance of a trophy so it is very important for the players, for the club, for the manager and for the fans," the Dutch coach said.

"We have proved against Arsenal and Manchester City, in spite of having less days to recover, that we could beat them so I hope that we shall recover very well. Everybody knows this is the last chance."

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was thinking of the importance of the match as their final FA Cup match at historic home ground prior to their relocation to the Olympic Stadium.

"It's the final FA Cup tie at the Boleyn Ground, it's Manchester United and it's the quarter-finals, so it can't be any bigger an occasion," the Croatian said. "We are of course fully motivated and want to go through.

"We have played them twice this season at Old Trafford and drawn both games. Now, it's the first time we will play them at home and it's an important game. We then play them at home in the final Premier League game here, which will also be massive."

In team news, the match will come too soon for Hammers defensive duo James Collins (hamstring) and Sam Byram (muscular injury), who are both expected back at the weekend, while Diafra Sakho (muscular injury) and Carl Jenkinson (anterior cruciate ligament) are also ruled out.

For United, striker Wayne Rooney (knee) isn't expected to make the kick off but should be available for Saturday, while Bastian Schweinsteiger (medial collateral ligament), Adnan Januzaj (hamstring), Will Keane (groin/pelvis), and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are among those who will miss out.


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