Belfast Telegraph

Van Gaal gets some satisfaction as banana skin is side stepped

By Robert Jones

Louis van Gaal declared himself satisfied with Manchester United's 3-0 FA Cup fifth-round win at Sky Bet League One club Shrewsbury.

First-half strikes from Chris Smalling and Juan Mata, followed by Jesse Lingard's goal after the break, eased some of the pressure on the under-fire Old Trafford boss and secured a home quarter-final against West Ham United.

When asked if he was feeling better than he did before the match, the Dutchman said: "No, I'm satisfied, that's different.

"I was also feeling well before the match. It's a matter of profession."

Mata's free-kick was the major talking point after three United players stood in an offside position, blocking the view of Shrews keeper Jayson Leutwiler.

Van Gaal admitted he had learned the trick from Europa League opponents FC Midtjylland, who they face again on Thursday needing to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit.

"We have learned because we analysed Midtjylland and saw that they are doing that," said Van Gaal.

"We think it's always offside, but we asked the referees at that time and they are saying not offside, you can do that.

"So we learned the taking of the free-kick from Midtjylland and today we scored. That's good."

United could even afford to play the final 14 minutes with just 10 men when substitute Will Keane was forced off after picking up an injury.

He appeared to pull a groin muscle as he sent a shot against a post just five minutes after he had come onto the pitch.

"We have played 70 minutes fantastic, in a professional way, creating chances and scoring goals," said Van Gaal.

"After 70 we were with 10 and it was more difficult,"It (the injuries) was unbelievably unlucky again. The players were very committed to perform and you see what is the consequence.

"Everyone shall say United have to win against Shrewsbury. For the players it is fantastic because we are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup."

And the United boss still hasn't given up hope of pulling off a shock Premier League and FA Cup double - or at least secure qualification for the Champions League by finishing in the top four - despite currently sitting in fifth place.

"We are in all the competitions, just six points behind Manchester City, we have a lot of chances, a lot of titles to fight for," he said.

"It isn't easy because we have to win a lot of games but it is still possible."

Shrewsbury manager Micky Mellon insisted he had not seen the controversial second goal, which came in first-half stoppage time and left his side with a mountain to climb.

"First and foremost the quality of Manchester United was fantastic," he said.

"I couldn't have asked more of the players - we just came up against a team of utmost quality.

"I haven't seen the free-kick back. We have to come away from this and say that it has been a fantastic cup run.

"We gave it everything, but playing against quality like that, it wasn't going to be enough."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph