FA Cup final won’t derail Man United’s top-four bid, says Tyrell Malacia

Tyrell Malacia says there is no chance Manchester United’s approach will waver as the delicious FA Cup final against Manchester City approaches.

Erik ten Hag has overseen an impressive change in culture and quality at Old Trafford since taking over last summer.

United are pushing for a top-four finish, having won the Carabao Cup, and June 3 offers another shot at a silver medal against potential treble-chasing rivals City.

The all-Manchester FA Cup final is looming, but Malacia says it won’t distract the team from their Premier League final push.

“No, I think we have a lot of experienced players who have been in these kinds of situations,” the full-back said ahead of Thursday’s trip to Brighton.

“We remain as a team and we focus on qualifying for the Champions League.

“I think Brighton are a good team, very good football, quality players, so it will be a tough game.

“We have to focus on ourselves now, look game by game and we need to win.”

Brighton will be seeking revenge just 11 days after their FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout loss to United, who have since drawn 2-2 with Tottenham before beating Aston Villa 1-0 on Sunday.

Bruno Fernandes’ goal at Old Trafford ended Villa’s 10-game unbeaten run and strengthened the Red Devils’ grip on a Champions League qualifying spot with six games to play.

“I think from now until the last game of the season they are important points, so now we have to win every game,” Malacia said.

“It’s not good that we lose points (at Tottenham), but (against Villa) we played well and (won) important points.”

As well as picking up three points, United recorded their 15th clean sheet in the Premier League, no mean feat given Villa’s form and the absence of starting centre-backs Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martínez.

“We have a lot of quality in the team, so if someone leaves, we know we have someone with quality,” said Malacia, who played left-back while Luke Shaw impressed in center once again.

“Yes (they are missing great players), but we are still Man United so we have a lot of qualities and that is important.”

About Shaw, the Dutch international said: “We help each other before the game, before training. We always talk to each other, so it’s good.

“From the beginning when I got here he always talked to me and talked to me.”

Sunday marked Malacia’s 19th Premier League appearance for United and he has made 36 appearances in all competitions since joining last July.

The 23-year-old became the first signing of the Ten Hag era after moving from Feyenoord for €15m (£12.95m), plus €2m (£1.7m) in add-ons.

“I told myself maybe 20 games this season and I’ve played over 20,” Malacia said.

“I am happy to be here, I am learning a lot. My first year in the Premier League, I’ve played a lot of games. I have learned many things, I am very happy to be here”.

Asked if he had felt extra pressure playing for United, he said: “All good. I don’t feel the pressure. For me it’s ok.

“I am happy to be on the field and play football. That’s what I want to do and that’s what I dream of all my life, so why should I be pressured?

Malacia’s delight in playing for United stems from his gratitude to Ten Hag, whose meticulous nature and approach have embraced the team.

Putting to Malacia that the coach seems demanding to him, he said: “Always, always (with) everyone.

“It’s a good thing because it keeps us in shape and you have to be at your best, especially because he said we’re a great club so we need to win prizes. So we have to be in our A game.

“Everything (he is demanding). He’s good because you see it work, so he’s always good.”

Villa have their own demanding manager in the impressive Emery, whose team will be looking to win again at Wolves on Saturday.

Leander Dendoncker told VillaTV ahead of the trip to his old club: “I don’t think we played a bad game here.

“The next game is also an away game, which will also be difficult.

“We just have to keep going, we’ve been outstanding the last few weeks and we just have to keep going.”

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