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Coventry boss Mark Robins: Manchester United are the ‘biggest club in the world’

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Apr 2024

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Coventry boss Mark Robins has scoffed at the “derisory” criticism of Manchester United, insisting his side’s FA Cup semi-final opponents remain the biggest football club on the planet.

Robins began his career at Old Trafford and his history with the club is firmly intertwined with the cup, with his third round winner against Nottingham Forest in 1990 often cited as the goal that saved Sir Alex Ferguson from the sack.

Ferguson’s latest successor in the hot seat, Erik ten Hag, could do with firming up his own position and could find himself on extremely rocky ground if the Red Devils were denied a shot at silverware by Championship opposition.

They are winless in four games since reaching the last four with a penalty shootout victory over Liverpool and sit seventh in the Premier League table, but Robins believes their problems have been overstated.

“People, pundits, are talking in a derisory way about Manchester United and what they’re doing, how they’re performing,” he said.

“For people who are talking about Manchester United are this or that, or they concede lots of shots: you’re talking about a team that is full of talented players, top international players. We know they are clearly favourites to win this game, by a million miles, simple as that.

“They can hurt anybody on their day. The game against Liverpool their goals were outstanding. So you’ve got a lot of things to consider, especially as a Championship club going up against the biggest club in the world.

“For Manchester United, this is a normal occasion. They play at Wembley a lot of times, there’s some England internationals there and other internationals who’ve played at Wembley on numerous occasions. It’s an expectation for them and their supporters; for us it’s slightly different.”

The Sky Blues booked their place in the last four with a dramatic 3-2 win over Wolves, with stoppage-time strikes from Ellis Simms and Haji Wright completing a remarkable upset.

The euphoria of that result has not carried in to their league form though, with three losses in their last four games leaving their play-off hopes – and regular games against the likes of United – all but over.

With that in mind, Robins has urged everyone connected to the club to make the most of the experience in front of them.

“We’ve already given the fans a special occasion getting there. Being in the national stadium with Manchester United, it doesn’t get much bigger than that,” he said.

“It’s a brilliant opportunity for everyone and there’s a lot of excitement around the city. There is a global reach there for Coventry City, the world will be tuning in and it’s a great occasion for all of our players.”

One player who will not be part of City’s big day is Kasey Palmer, suspended after picking up a booking for encroaching on the pitch to celebrate the late triumph over Wolves.

“In the moment it’s the reaction we all made, you don’t necessarily think too much about it,” Said Robins.

“It was really poor but the rules are the rules and you’ve got to abide by them. Unfortunately for him and for us, we can’t use him.”

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