Giggs: Where the Chelsea vs Spurs FA Cup semi-final will be won and lost
How strong is Chelsea's mentality?
There will have been a lot of soul-searching at the club after the defeat at Old Trafford. I know how it feels to lose a major game in the latter parts of the season – it can generate uncertainty about strategies that have not been questioned up to that point. You need to have a strong mentality to push through it and get back to the basics of winning matches.
Watching the game, I was struck at how subdued Antonio Conte was on the touchline. His passion and energy have often worked with his team, as if the two power each other on, but against Manchester United he was a quieter presence.
Chelsea have led the way this season and there is no reason they cannot win this FA Cup semi-final, although it is perfectly balanced between the league’s two top teams, with the chasing party in the better form.
It goes without saying that Chelsea will need all the players hit by illness to have recovered this week and the news about Gary Cahill will be troubling.
I was surprised at the timing of John Terry’s announcement on Monday that he was leaving at the end of the season. Did it have to be then? When Marcos Alonso pulled out the United game in the warm-up I wonder if the captain felt that his time had come to step back into the team.
Especially on such a big occasion he would have been confident that he had the experience to do that, although no defender would have had an easy time from United that day.
Instead Conte opted for Kurt Zouma and that might have made up Terry’s mind.
Can Spurs cope with the pressure?
The league’s in-form team who must believe that they now have the chance of the club’s first FA Cup in 26 years. They are a young side on the whole and many of them would not yet have been born in 1991 when the club last won the FA Cup at Wembley but that is not to say that they will be immune from the pressure of a run like that.
When I broke into the Manchester United team as a teenager I was only too aware of how long it has been since we had won the league title – it was a 26-year gap in the end.
Of course, one group of players cannot bear the responsibility for all those years of failure but equally the only way to stop people going on about it is to win the trophy in question.
When United blew the old First Division title in 1992 we came back that bit more determined the next season to make sure we won it, and we also had the experience of going close.
Spurs had a similar experience last season when they went for the title and it was Chelsea who ultimately stopped their charge, although they were struggling to catch Leicester City even before then.
The energy and aggression that Spurs have shown in recent weeks has been impressive. Mauricio Pochettino has to decide whether he matches up with Chelsea’s three-at-the-back system but either way his team seem to switch from one formation to the other pretty seamlessly.
Spurs have not played well at Wembley this season in the Champions League and that is another consideration for them to deal with.
More from Ryan Giggs:
- This is a glorious chance for Manchester United to make European history again
- What happened will never leave us, but Manchester's compassion and spirit will unite and strengthen
- I had to prepare psychologically for life after Manchester United
- Where the Arsenal vs Man City FA Cup semi-final will be won and lost
- Where the Chelsea vs Spurs FA Cup semi-final will be won and lost
- Ryan Giggs's Premier League team of the season so far: Who makes the cut?
- Manchester United must turn fixture pile-up to their advantage - just like Ferguson did
- Money is making teenage players richer - not better
- Ross Barkley is no longer a kid - his excellence needs to become the norm
- Why referees must show the human touch
- Archery, the right suit and teamwork: how to win a cup final
- Arsenal can still thrive – even if Arsene Wenger departs
- I wish Manchester United had signed N'Golo Kante
- The secret to closing out a Premier League title race
- Danny Rose has all the qualities of my old Man Utd mate Patrice Evra
- Why Manchester City's struggles are no surprise
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has the same aura as Eric Cantona - and is just as lethal
- The night Antonio Conte provoked me into confronting Sir Alex Ferguson - it didn't end well
- Why old-school defending is a dying art
- Mauricio Pochettino has given Spurs a steel they used to lack
- Marcus Rashford can be Manchester United's next No. 9
- The day Pep Guardiola almost forced me to quit football
- Why Man Utd vs Arsenal was my ultimate grudge match
- How going long can beat Jurgen Klopp's gegenpress
- Why I fear this could be Liverpool's year in the Premier League title race
- I have discovered that even Arsenal players can be great company!
- Sir Alex Ferguson left a huge void at Manchester United but decline was not inevitable