LONDON (AP) — A third cup final with Manchester United for Jose Mourinho. More FA Cup semifinal misery for Tottenham.
While Mauricio Pochettino wins admiration for his style of football, the manager has yet to actually win a trophy in management.
A 2-1 collapse to United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday left Tottenham reeling from an eighth successive loss in the FA Cup semifinals.
Pochettino is responsible for two of the setbacks, having also fallen short against Chelsea last season.
“We can’t keep doing this,” Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli said. “We can’t throw it away. We have got to improve.”
At the stadium where Tottenham has been playing its home matches this season, Alli’s goal gave the 1991 FA Cup winners hope of turning around their miserable recent record in world football’s oldest knockout competition.
But Alexis Sanchez leveled in the 24th minute and Ander Herrera struck the winner in the second half. It ensured Mourinho, who won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at United, has a chance to also end this campaign with silverware against Chelsea or Southampton in the FA Cup final.
“We’re getting used to being in finals,” Herrera said. “This club is all about titles and finals.”
While Mourinho has fallen short in the English Premier League behind newly crowned champion Manchester City, United is second and on course for its highest finish since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Tottenham would settle with holding onto fourth place to secure a third season in a row in the Champions League. That ensures Tottenham lands another UEFA windfall, but not the prestige of being title winners.
Despite failing to win trophies at Tottenham or in previous jobs at Southampton and Espanyol, the Argentine coach is still linked to leading jobs in the game. How much longer will he resist advances from clubs who offer a greater prospect of glory?
“Tottenham need more time with me or with another,” Pochettino said, “but the most important thing is to keep going and keep developing that philosophy that is fantastic for this club.
“We are in the process in the last four years. There was the challenge to be competitive and then to reduce the distance with the top four. We were competitive in the last four years but winning a trophy is not easy.”
Liverpool missed a chance to considerably stretch its advantage over Tottenham in one of Saturday’s two league games. Juergen Klopp’s side threw away a two-goal lead to draw with last-place West Bromwich Albion 2-2 and move only three points ahead of Tottenham.
Chelsea, which plays Southampton in the other FA Cup semifinal on Sunday, is five points behind Tottenham with four games remaining.
When United fell behind to Tottenham, Paul Pogba was culpable.
When a high ball was launched forward by Tottenham, a lethargic Pogba didn’t try to break sweat in an attempt to prevent it reaching Eriksen. It allowed the Dane to whip in a cross for Alli to slide onto at the far post and strike past David De Gea in 11th minute
Had Harry Kane made a connection at the far post with Son Heung-min’s cross three minutes later, Tottenham might have extended its lead.
Instead, United was able to draw level. Pogba made amends for his earlier inertia by dispossessing Mousa Dembele and delivering a cross that Sanchez headed past static goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Sanchez did the hard work to create the winner in the 62nd, holding off Kieran Trippier and rolling the ball into the penalty area where Jesse Lingard teed up Herrera to shoot past Vorm.
At West Brom, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp felt the host mounted a “useless comeback” given it has little chance of avoiding being relegated.
Liverpool was in control with 18 minutes remaining thanks to Danny Ings scoring his first goal in 930 days and Mohamed Salah’s Premier League record-equaling 31st of the season.
But Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondon recovered a draw that still left West Brom eight points from safety and only three games remaining.
“I don’t think that point will help West Brom massively,” Klopp said. “It is a complete waste of points. They don’t need it. We would have needed it. They are happy now, we are not happy. We stay in the league. They don’t stay in the league. It is a strange situation.”
But the recovery epitomized West Brom under the caretaker command of Darren Moore, who has five points from three games.
Stoke and Southampton are also in the relegation zone. Crystal Palace pulled six points clear of Southampton by drawing at Watford 0-0.
Sunderland has endured a second successive relegation.
A year after dropping out of the Premier League, the northeast club fell into the third tier for only the second time in the club’s history after losing to Burton 2-1.
But Wigan, the 2013 FA Cup winner, is heading in the opposition direction — returning to the second-tier League Championship with a 4-0 win at Fleetwood.
Wolverhampton, which had already secured promotion to the Premier League, ensured it will be going up as Championship champion thanks to a 4-0 win over Bolton.