Troubled Man Utd Still World’s Biggest Club, Says Coventry Boss Robins

Mark Robins has responded to criticism of Manchester United, insisting that his struggling former side is still the world’s largest club ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.

Robins began his playing career with United, when he notably scored the FA Cup third round winner against Nottingham Forest in 1990, which many consider to have saved Alex Ferguson’s job.

United’s current manager, Erik ten Hag, is likewise struggling to keep his position following a poor second season.

Ten Hag’s side is almost certain to lose out on next season’s Champions League.

And United, who last won the Premier League in Ferguson’s final season in charge in 2013, have gone winless in four league games since beating Liverpool in the semi-finals.

Losing to second-tier Coventry would be a big blow to Ten Hag’s chances of persuading Jim Ratcliffe, United’s new co-owner, to stick with him next season.

But Robins, who left United in 1992 to join Norwich, believes his former club’s issues have been exaggerated.

“People, pundits, are talking in a derisory way about Manchester United and what they’re doing, how they’re performing,” Robins told reporters on Friday.

“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.”

Coventry, who won the FA Cup for the only time in 1987, advanced to the semi-finals with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Wolves due to stoppage-time goals from Ellis Simms and Haji Wright.

Robins’ team, presently seventh in the second division, were defeated by Luton in last season’s Championship play-off final, and he feels their experience at Wembley can help them pull off a big surprise.

“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.”

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