Manchester United are now a step closer to emulating the squad of 1998-99 by winning the Treble which comprises the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. United are the only English team to have won all three competitions in the same season and Sir Alex Ferguson thinks his current squad is better than the vintage of 1998-99.
United beat Reading 2-1 at Old Trafford in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday night. They could have scored three goals in the first five minutes but then Reading came into the game and deserved to be level at half time. Goals from Nani and Javier Hernandez (pictured playing for Mexico) put United in control and they won the tie despite a late consolation goal from Reading.
They now play either Chelsea or Middlesbrough in the round of the last eight. Their quarter final opponents will probably be Chelsea which would mean United have only played Premier League clubs in their current FA Cup run. That was also the case in 1999 when they beat Arsenal in the semi-finals and Newcastle United in the final at Wembley.
Ferguson last won the FA Cup with the club in the 2003-2004 season and they have won the trophy eleven times in their history. United have won the competition five times under Ferguson, most notably in the 1989-90 campaign which was the manager’s first trophy after being appointed in 1986.
In terms of the Premier League United now have a 12 point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table. Some UK bookmakers have already paid out on United, including Fred Done, an avid supporter. He did something similar some years ago when his beloved United had a significant lead. However a dip in form saw Arsenal take the title which meant Done had to pay out twice.
With the league now seemingly taken care of United can focus on the Champion League. They are in a strong position in the last 16 tie with Real Madrid. They drew the first leg 1-1 in Madrid and now need to not concede a goal at Old Trafford in the second match to progress.
Ferguson is now 71 but has indicated he may stay in the job for a few more years. However, if United win the Treble again this summer might be a good time to move on and allow Jose Mourinho to take the position he craves most if he returns to English football.