Why the FA Cup won’t change the future prospects for Conte and Mourinho

This year marks the 70-year anniversary of the first trophy won by Sir Matt Busby as Manchester United manager, a 4-2 victory over Blackpool in the FA Cup final.

Busby would go onto win a further seven major trophies at Old Trafford over the next 21 years but it was the initial triumph that was particularly appreciated by then-chairman James Gibson who, because he was ill at the time, had the trophy delivered to him in his bedroom by Busby and the team.

By contrast, when Louis van Gaal won the same trophy for the same club two years ago, reports that he was due to be sacked were already widespread before the Dutchman had even left the changing room. Two days later, he was no longer United manager.

Its now impossible to imagine either Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte personally delivering the FA Cup to the private quarters of Avram Glazer or Roman Abramovich should they win the trophy this weekend.

Read more: FA Cup prize money – How much is winning it worth compared to the Champions League and Premier League?

Yet Van Gaal is only the most extreme example in recent years of managers being swiftly moved on by their clubs despite having won the worlds oldest domestic cup competition.

Of the last 11 finals since the showpiece occasion returned to the redeveloped Wembley Stadium in 2007, only one manager — Arsene Wenger — has still been in the job for more than two seasons after lifting the trophy.

Yet even three FA Cup wins in the last four years was not enough to quell simmering dissatisfaction with Wenger as Arsenal manager. Less than 12 months after beating Chelsea in last years final, he too has discovered his future lies elsewhere.

Neither Mourinho nor Conte will be under any illusions about what winning this years FA Cup will mean for their future prospects in their current position.

After all, when Mourinho won the first FA Cup at the new Wembley in 2007 for Chelsea he only lasted a few more months at Stamford Bridge before leaving in the September. And Conte doesnt have to look far for many other examples of his Chelsea predecessors FA Cup victories being given short shrift.

Carlo Ancelotti was sacked a year after winning a league and cup double in 2010 while Roberto di Matteo didnt last until the following Christmas despite winning the FA Cup and Champions League in 2012. Roberto Mancini did not make it to the end of his second season after winning the FA Cup for Manchester City in 2011.

In different circumstances, both Harry Redknapp and Roberto Martinez moved on to bigger clubs after winning the FA Cup for Portsmouth in 2008 and Wigan in 2013.

The fact that those are the only two clubs outside the Premier Leagues top six to win the FA Cup in the last decade suggests it hasnt totally lost its sheen. Managers at the biggest teams consistently play their strongest teams in the latter stages.

But when it comes to judging a managers performance, those calling the shots at Premier League clubs appear to be much more concerned with progression in the league than with the glory of silverware.

The two longest serving managers in the Premier Leagues top six will be the only two yet to have won a trophy for their current club: Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.

Albeit from a lower base, both managers have made measurable progress in the league since taking over. Conversely, Wenger climbed the Wembley steps in triumph three times in recent seasons but it couldnt mask his teams regression over a 38-game competition.

For chairmen and owners, that comes at a severe financial cost. Arsenal received £4.3m for winning the FA Cup last season. They received £139.6m for finishing fifth in the Premier League.

Of the last seven managers to have departed top six Premier League clubs – Wenger at Arsenal, Van Gaal and David Moyes at United, Manuel Pellegrini and Mancini at City, Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool – the common denominator has been a regression in the league.

The number of trophies — including the FA Cup — won differed between the managers, yet the one constant was that after their side finished lower or appeared on course to finish lower in the league, it spelt the end.

That perhaps explains why even before their trophy hauls for the season are decided this weekend, the future for Mourinho at United and Conte at Chelsea appears set.

With his side having made strides in league position, Mourinho was handed a new contract at Old Trafford in January, while Chelsea's slump out of the top four is likely to precede Conte's imminent Stamford Bridge exit. The FA Cup is unlikely to provide a lifeline.

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