Updated: Friday, 28th February 2020 @ 8:34am

Smells like team spirit: Man Utd resilience in FA Cup thrills Van Gaal

Smells like team spirit: Man Utd resilience in FA Cup thrills Van Gaal

| By Patric Ridge

Louis van Gaal was delighted with Manchester United’s FA Cup spirit after they came from behind to beat Preston North End 3-1 on Monday night.

Scott Laird’s strike put the League One side ahead early in the second half at Deepdale, but United fought back through Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, before Wayne Rooney added a third from the spot.

And the United boss insists that, after going a goal down, a change in his system – replacing the ineffectual Radamel Falcao with Ashley Young – led to the team creating more chances.

“We changed the shape and that was the solution, and then we showed an unbelievable team spirit,” said the Dutchman.

"I was reasonably satisfied with the first half. We didn't give anything away and it's always difficult in such games especially with the long balls.

"But we didn't give them any chances. In the second half, their goal was a little bit unlucky because it deflected in."

Despite a cagey opening half, the hosts came out strong after the interval, taking the lead when Laird’s deflected strike evaded David De Gea and nestled in the corner.

Van Gaal introduced Young soon after, with Fellaini moving forward to play alongside Rooney.

And that change soon paid dividends when Herrera – now playing in a more advanced role – found the net with an inch perfect strike from the edge of the area.

 

 

With Preston’s spirits deflated, United then broke swiftly down the right through Antonio Valencia, who found Fellaini with a whipped cross.

Though Preston ‘keeper Thorsten Stuckmann made a good save from the Belgian’s header, Fellaini stuck away the rebound to give United the lead.

Matters were made worse for Preston when Stuckmann brought down Rooney in the area.

The United skipper duly finished from the resulting spot-kick, sealing the victory and setting up a quarter-final clash with holders Arsenal.

Main image courtesy of MUTV via YouTube, with thanks.