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Robert Vilahamn: United Game Not a Preview of FA Cup Final

Tottenham boss Jan Robert Vilahamn has insisted that Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to Manchester United will not be seen as an opportunity to prepare for when the teams meet again in the FA Cup final.

Spurs made history by beating Leicester City last weekend to reach their first FA Cup final, but Vilahamn has reiterated that Sunday’s clash is all about trying to climb further up the WSL table. A victory against this weekend’s opponents would see them close the gap to three points with a game in hand.

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“This is a game where we can try to fight to be in the top four this year,” the Swede stated.

“We can use this game [to prepare] for the final, of course, but it’s too far away to focus on that right now. The mindset we have is the next game and how to improve for that.

The 41-year-old revealed that he allowed the club to bask in their success when they returned to training earlier in the week, but the focus quickly shifted to their upcoming trip to the North-West.

Spurs’ record against the Red Devils has been less than stellar since they gained promotion to the WSL in 2019. The two sides have met on nine occasions, losing eight times and earning a singular draw. The most recent match-up ended in a 4-0 defeat for Vilahman’s side, something which he describes as his biggest disappointment of the season.

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“If there’s one game I’m angry at myself about, it’s the former game [against United].

“We went in there with a defensive mode, just in a low block and tried to counter-attack. We didn’t really give ourselves a chance that game. We weren’t brave in that game, and that’s on me.

“This time, we are aware that we need to be brave but also be clever. We need to defend but also make sure we are there to play.”

The contrast in morale going into the reverse fixture could not have been more different. Tottenham had just come off the back of a 7-0 drubbing at Manchester City, which Vilahamn admitted affected the way he set up his team when they hosted Marc Skinner’s side.

On the injury front, there is positive news for Spurs fans with no new concerns. This means that Beth England and Martha Thomas are both fully fit, which is something that their boss is relishing the prospect of.

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“I don’t think they have played together when both of them were 100% fit, so we have something to look forward to,” the Swede claimed.

“Even if they haven’t worked the best when they played a few games together before, there were reasons for that. That doesn’t mean they can’t play together. They absolutely can play together.

“I think they are so clever that they can work with other players, but they are also leaders. I’m looking forward to keep working with them and going into details on how we can get the benefit of them. They will be important to this team in the last five or six games.”

One name who will be out of this weekend’s clash is loanee Grace Clinton. The forward, who is ineligible to feature against her parent club, has provided seven goal contributions in 16 league appearances this season. Only Thomas has managed more throughout the campaign.


  • Callum Bishop

    Callum is a sports journalist who boasts a variety of experience in producing written and video content. If it involves kicking, throwing or hitting a ball, best believe that Callum is watching and covering it. Despite popular belief, he would never have made it pro regardless of any knee injuries. However, he absolutely lives off the time he nutmegged a Premier League player during five aside.