Manchester United beat West Ham United in the replay of the FA Cup quarter-final at Upton Park. Louis van Gaal was pleased with his team’s performance as the Red Devils bounced back from the 3 – 0 defeat at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Marcus Rashford, David de Gea and Timothy Fosu-Mensah were the bright spots in United’s line-up on Wednesday. However, David de Gea stood out for his incredible saves which saved the club from elimination from the domestic cup competition.
Neither side could find the breakthrough goal in the first half at Upton Park but in the 54th minute United’s talented youngster, Marcus Rashford, broke the deadlock with a fantastic finish in the top right corner. Fellaini doubled the lead in the 67th minute and gave his side a comfortable cushion. But the Hammers took control in the last quarter of the game. Tomkins scored in the 79th minute to give hope to the home fans. The hosts tried hard, but they couldn’t trespass De Gea to put the ball in the back of the net.
United’s Dutch boss Louis van Gaal was impressed by Marcus Rashford after a brilliant display away from home. He also praised him for the wonderful goal scored by the young Englishman.
“He’s very focused on his work and that I admire when you are so young, and there is so much attention now. He is scoring so many important goals, but he can cope with that attention and focus. When you have criticism he can cope with criticism also, he can say: ‘Yes, manager, you are right and I have to do that.’ I think it’s fantastic because not a lot of players can see their self-image in a match.
“It was a great goal. I was behind him on the bench and saw the view, the gap and the corner and I shouted: ‘Shoot!’ but to do it is much more difficult. It was a great goal and a great dribble. I say he always needs to dribble and shoot; he has that quality.
Van Gaal was proud of his men as they have shown fighting spirit on many occasions. He also revealed that he wants to win a title in England before leaving the helm at Old Trafford. The veteran manager is linked with a move away from the club at the end of this season.
“I’m happy that, despite that defeat, we can have the spirit this evening, like we showed after the defeat against Liverpool, 2-0 against our biggest enemy, but we came back and were fighting to the end [against West Ham at Old Trafford]. You can’t deny that my team has a lot of fighting spirit,” said Van Gaal.
“I want to win a title in England because I’ve won a title in every country. But I’m not important. The club is important, and the players are important.
“I do my work, I do my best, and everywhere I have worked I’ve won something. A lot of things have changed in all the clubs where I have worked and because of that I’m here, I’m selected by Manchester United not because I’m a lousy manager.”
Manchester United supporters have one more positive to take from the crucial victory. Wayne Rooney is back from injury, and the club captain might even start Saturday’s fixture against Aston Villa at home.