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Erik ten Hag saluted Manchester United’s “personality and determination” after they came from behind to beat nine-man Fulham 3-1 in a fiery FA Cup quarter-final.
The Red Devils reached their record-breaking 31st semi-final, with Bruno Fernandes’ brace and a Marcel Sabitzer strike cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s opener at Old Trafford.
The pendulum swung firmly in United’s favour as the tie descended into chaos following Chris Kavanagh’s decision to award the hosts a penalty 18 minutes from time.
After consulting VAR, and red-carding Fulham boss Marco Silva for his protests, Kavanagh sent off Willian for handling Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line, while Mitrovic followed for getting too physical with the official.
United fully capitalised on their numerical advantage to book a semi-final date with Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley, where they landed the EFL Cup crown with victory over Newcastle United last month.
See you again soon, @WembleyStadium!#MUFC || #FACup pic.twitter.com/Bb0nJa1SAo
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 19, 2023
“We are happy with the win. We showed great character,” Ten Hag said. “Every time this team comes out, they show the personality and the determination needed. Fulham are a good team, and you have to be good to overcome them.
“In possession, we could have been better. Out of possession, we were excellent. We came under pressure, gave away some set-pieces and then conceded the goal. David de Gea kept us in the game after we conceded.”
Sabitzer added: “We wanted to go back to Wembley, we did it. [At] 1-0 down, it was hard and tough, but we came back and won it. We were concentrated, focused until the end. I think it was a deserved win.
“We have a great mentality. We have great players on the ball, but a great mentality and team spirit. I think you can see it on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw believes Kavanagh was spot on with his decisions to award the penalty, and subsequently dismiss Willian and Mitrovic.
“Obviously, I saw that moment and that action and to me straight away, I knew it was handball,” he told MUTV. “I think the way he blocked it, the ball was going in, and it doesn’t matter where his hands are.
“It has hit his arms, and he’s stopped it. The referee made a good decision with that one. I think maybe a bit of frustration [showed for Mitrovic’s red card] after they’d been so good, maybe a bit of anger that can only take a second.
“I think that happened and when they had two men sent off, it’s a big mountain to climb, and thankfully we saw the game out.”