Same old Spurs see Manchester United into final

Christian Radnedge
AAP

Playing in their temporary home of Wembley Stadium, there was a distinct air of familiarity in the way Tottenham Hotspur once again failed on the big stage, losing 2-1 to Manchester United for their eighth straight FA Cup semi-final defeat.

Dele Alli's opening strike was cancelled out by goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera as Mauricio Pochettino's men were outplayed by savvier opponents.

It was the same scoreline in Spurs' other big test of the season at Wembley, the Champions League last-16 second leg against Juventus, where they once again took the lead only to falter under the weight of the occasion.

Spurs can still mathematically catch Jose Mourinho's side and pip them to second place in the Premier League.

Sanchez celebrates his match winner. Pic: Getty

Yet goalscorer Alli knows that for him, his teammates and Tottenham's fans, this was another promising opportunity blown.

"We let ourselves down, it's very disappointing," the forward said.

"You can't go 1-0 up and then 2-1 down against a team like Manchester United. We can't put ourselves in that situation.

"We want to win trophies, we have the staff that want to win. We can't keep doing this. We can't throw it away. We have got to improve."

Spurs have not won a trophy since the 2008 League Cup, and have not lifted the FA Cup for 27 years.

The last major final they reached was the League Cup final in Pochettino's first season at the club in 2014. They lost 2-0 that day to Mourinho's Chelsea.

Mourinho said United will be judged on whether they finish second in the Premier League rather than winning again at Wembley.

"If we can finish the season with two victories and one draw and finish the season with 81 points, if we managed to do that, untouchable City, no chance to be in a fight with them, I think that is a good season," he said.

"The season is successful if we finish second. The final is the final and you have to try to win but I don't think it is because of one game the season is good or bad."

For Pochettino, however, the process of transforming Tottenham's mentality is the most important task at hand.

"We are in a process that to arrive at a semi-final, to be competitive in the Champions League and be competitive in the Premier League fighting for the top four, it's not enough because everyone feels we are close, we are close, we are close but still we only nearly touch," he said.

"But still at the moment it's not enough and I think Tottenham need to keep going in this direction and to create that winning mentality (will not take) a few years."