Coyle: Blackburn must be prepared to punish Man United

The Rovers boss knows that his players must play to their maximum and hope the Red Devils are “off their game” in the FA Cup

Owen Coyle says that Blackburn Rovers must be prepared to capitalise on any weakness in Manchester United’s game when the two sides meet in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Coyle’s Championship strugglers face one-time rivals Manchester United at Ewood Park on Sunday and the Rovers boss has urged his players to seize their chance to shine.

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However, the former Burnley boss remains cognisant of the task that awaits his team against Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils.

“To play an elite club like Manchester United is a wonderful opportunity,” Coyle told reporters ahead of the game.

“Particularly for our young players it’s a chance to stand toe to toe with world-class players. As opposed to sitting at home watching those world-class players on TV they are going up against them.

“This game is a chance for some of those players to see how far they’ve got to go, to say ‘maybe I need to hone my craft a little, this is what I need to do’.” 

Blackburn find themselves entangled in a relegation battle in the league and their FA Cup run has been a welcome distraction for the Lancashire outfit, who defeated Queens Park Rangers and Blackpool in previous rounds. 

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United come into the game having won four of their last five games and the Red Devils have kept five clean sheets in those fixtures, so Coyle is hoping that they will be “off their game” at Ewood.

He continued: “We know if we play to our best and Manchester United play to their best then, ordinarily, they will win. But if they are slightly off that’s how shocks are created. It can happen in cup games.

“We need two things to happen – for us to be at our very best and for Man United to be off their game.

“That can happen in cup games and if it does we have to be ready to maximise our opportunity.”

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