Manchester United will look to hang on to the one trophy they can still win when they play West Ham in an FA Cup quarterfinal replay Wednesday. With their top four hopes fading, Louis Van Gaal really needs his team to go all the way in this tournament, making a win at Upton Park a must.
The former champions were awful in their Premier League game at the weekend, losing 3-0 to Tottenham, with Van Gaal making some head-scratching decisions in terms of team composition and positioning. The fans will hope the Dutchman sticks to a more conventional approach against West Ham, who like United, are fighting for a top four place in the Premier League.
"I think our problem (against Tottenham) was the miscommunication of our central defenders," Van Gaal told reporters. "So I hope that we will improve our communication because this is a very important game for us.
"It is our last chance of a trophy so it is very important for the players, for the club, for the manager and for the fans."
Van Gaal, who is expected to name Wayne Rooney at least on the bench, believes West Ham have an advantage having had an extra day to prepare, considering they played their Premier League match – a 3-3 draw against Arsenal – Saturday, with Manchester United playing a day later.
"We have one day less than West Ham, and that is also important," Van Gaal added. "But, we have proved against Arsenal and Manchester City, in spite of having less days to recover, that we could beat them so I hope that we shall recover very well. Also mentally, because (the loss to Spurs) is a blow, of course, but everybody knows this is the last chance."
Slaven Bilic has moulded West Ham into a seriously strong unit, capable of beating any team in the Premier League. They gave Arsenal a big scare, coming back from two goals down, to take a 3-2 lead – courtesy an Andy Carroll hat-trick – before eventually settling for a 3-3 draw. Manchester United cannot afford to drop their guard even for a second against West Ham, or else their only chance of winning something this season will slip away.
"It's the final FA Cup tie at the Boleyn Ground, it's Manchester United and it's the quarterfinals, so it can't be any bigger an occasion," Bilic was quoted as saying by West Ham's official website. "We are of course fully motivated and want to go through.
"Wednesday's game is massive for them and massive for us. OK, they lost their last game 3-0 but they are Manchester United and they have great players. For their standards, they've not been very consistent but they are still above us in the table, and they are very capable of beating any team on their day."
Where to Watch Live
West Ham vs Manchester United is set to begin at 7 p.m. GMT (11.30 p.m. IST, 2 p.m. ET). There will be no Live coverage of the FA Cup quarterfinal replay in India, owing to the IPL coverage on the Sony Six and Sony ESPN channels.
BBC One will broadcast the FA Cup match live in the UK, while all the action can also be live streamed on BBC iPlayer. BBC Radio 5 Live is the radio option for listeners in the UK. ESPN will broadcast the match live in Australia, with the live stream option on ESPN Player.
Viewers in Singapore can flip their remotes to Eleven. Bein Sports will broadcast the match live in the Middle East, France and North Africa, with the live streaming option on Bein Sports Connect.
Viewers in the US can watch West Ham vs Man Utd live on Fox Sports 2, while the action can be live streamed on FoxSoccer2Go. Sportsnet World and Watch Sportsnet will broadcast the FA Cup game live in Canada.