Jose Mourinho hit out at Manchester United’s critics after they booked their place in the FA Cup final.
United beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera, providing a chance to bring another major trophy to Old Trafford after United lifted the League Cup and the Europa League last season.
Mourinho’s team also remain on course to end the season second in the Premier League table — the club’s highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 — and the manager believes they have been on the end of too much criticism.
“We deserve [to finish second],” Mourinho told the BBC. “We should ask ourselves why there is too many critics on all of us? We can finish second with six more points. To do that with all the fantastic teams we play against will be an achievement for a club that couldn’t do it for a few years now.
“And it will be a fourth final in three years. So, maybe too much criticism.”
However, Mourincho conceded in his news conference that United’s season will be judged by whether they can finish second in the Premier League, not by winning the FA Cup.
“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,” Mourinho said. “We can come to the final with a good spirit in the same spirit we came today.
“The season is successful if we finish second. If we do that with 81 points, if we have a better Premier League than Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal that is successful.
“To finish second against Manchester City is good, to get more points than last season, to win more matches, to concede less goals, to win more matches against top teams, I think is a successful season.
“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.”
Against Tottenham, United needed to come back from a goal down after Dele Alli gave Tottenham the lead in the 11th minute. Sanchez equalised with a header from Paul Pogba’s cross before the break but Mourinho said he still needed the half-time interval to mastermind a dominant second-half performance.
“If we split the match into periods we were the best team for many of these periods,” Mourinho said. “Even when they had the ball when we were winning we were totally in control.
“We lost control after the 1-0. At half-time we spoke — we came back late for the second half because we spoke a lot — and organised ourselves.”
The win demonstrates that United are proving themselves to be a big-game team, according to Chris Smalling.
“We turn up in big games and I think we have shown that recently,” Smalling told the BBC after the game. Herrera, who scored his second goal of the season for United, was pleased with his and his side’s efforts.
“We are in another final,” Herrera said. “We are getting used to being in finals, which is very good. This club is about titles and playing in finals so we are very happy.”
They will face the winner of the second semifinal between Chelsea and Southampton in the final on May 19.
It is a chance for Jose Mourinho to become just the third manager to win the FA Cup with two different teams after lifting the trophy with Chelsea in 2007.
United could also win the competition for a 13th time, the second-most among all clubs.
“We’re getting used to playing at Wembley, which is good, but we’ve won nothing yet,” Herrera said. “We must keep our feet on the floor. We still have to play a final.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.