Louis van Gaal praised the spirit of his Manchester United side as they came from a goal down to defeat plucky Preston in the FA Cup last night and secure their passage to the quarter-finals.
An upset was on the cards as the Red Devils fell behind early in the second half before their blushes were spared as goals from Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney ensured they progressed with a 3-1 win.
Despite a largely flat performance Van Gaal still maintained he was happy with his side after they showed the necessary character to get themselves back into the game and then go on to win it.
“I was reasonably satisfied. We didn’t give anything away. The fights between Kevin Davies and the defenders were difficult but we didn’t give anything away. The Preston goal was a little bit unlucky, it was deviated,” Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Mirror.
“But then we showed an unbelievable team spirit. We changed the shape and that was the solution. We scored fantastic goals, a little bit lucky also I think. I liked the second goal a lot, we have trained that a lot.”
After an injury hit start to the season Fellaini has firmly forced his way into the reckoning of Van Gaal’s thinking – with him answering his side’s call in their hour of need with his fourth goal of the campaign.
The Belgian was pushed up-front after Van Gaal decided to haul off the inept Radamel Falcao, with the former Everton man showing his versatility by scoring his side’s crucial second goal to put them ahead in the game.
Van Gaal, who was full of praise for Fellaini, added: “Marouane Fellaini has a body, he also scores goals. I played him in the position that he wants for the first time but I do not always have a position for him. The spirit was better.”
United have now only lost one game in their last 19 matches but while they are proving hard to beat they are still failing to convince. As long as the wins continue, though, Van Gaal is unlikely to worry too much.