Didn't expect to reach FA Cup final in 1st year - Spurs boss

Tottenham Hotspur boss Robert Vilahamn said he did not expect to reach Wembley in his first season leading the team with his side taking on Manchester United in the FA Cup Final on Sunday.

Vilahamn was appointed at the start of the 2023-24 season after Rehanne Skinner was sacked midway through last term following a string of nine games without a win, with the side facing a battle to remain in the Women's Super League.

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When asked if he expected to reach the FA Cup final with Tottenham, Vilahamn said: "I mean, in one way, yeah. I've done it my whole life to reach this point.

"So yes, in one way, but perhaps not this soon, the first year. But I'm very pleased with how we have developed, and I think that the players have been brilliant. But I didn't expect the first year to be at Wembley."

Vilahamn's enjoyed a playing career in Sweden before becoming a manager, overseeing BK Häcken as an assistant and as a manager. He has steered Tottenham to a comfortable sixth-place finish in the league and has given the side a new identity, focusing a lot on the mentality of the team.

Manchester United are favourites heading into the tie, having reached the final of the competition last year. However, a poor league campaign has marred United's season after last year's second-place finish.

This season, they are poised to finish fifth, their lowest placement since they entered the top flight. Neither side has lifted silverware since their promotions to the WSL in 2019.

The teams have met twice this season. In the first game, Tottenham were thrashed a 4-0 at home, but will take hope from the reverse fixture which came a week after the FA Cup semifinals and ended in a 2-2 draw with United requiring a 92nd minute equaliser to take a point.

That second encounter has given Vilahamn hope that Tottenham could lift the trophy on Sunday.

"I must say that they [United] are the favourite team for this game because they have been at the top of the table for a while," he said. "On the other hand, you can also tell this year they're not top three anymore.

"We played a good game against them and we saw that we can actually compete against them and almost win. For me, yes, they are favourites. Yes, they were the last year, but we are taking steps all the time, and we have beaten good teams this year. So we feel like we have everything to win in this game and that we have a good chance to win."