Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was delighted with how his team conquered a tough Tottenham Hotspur side in Sunday’s astounding 3-0 win.
Goals from Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney were enough to see off the fragile challenge from the Londoners. And the Dutch manager was delighted with how his side performed, and bounced back from their FA Cup disappointment.
“Maybe aside from the first five minutes, we had control over the match,” said van Gaal. “We scored beautiful goals, we didn’t give so much away, so we played very well. I have a very good feeling about the way we played. I’m very pleased with the performance but also with the result.”
“They (the players) showed in the training sessions their spirit, in spite of the defeat against Arsenal, which was a very important game for us – we wanted to win the FA Cup. We lost from ourselves, and the players knew that also.”
“If you can show at the next training session the same spirit as before, then you are a fantastic professional and that’s why I said it in advance of the game. I have been a manager for 25 years and I have seen, with a lot of players, it’s not always the same after a defeat. I have the feeling the players want to play this system also. That is also a big advantage.”
Fellaini put the Red Devils in the lead just nine minutes into the game, and when questioned about his sides’ urgency, the 63-year-old cited Tottenham’s quality on the ball, insisting it was important to race into the lead.
“After the first goal, then you raise your confidence and you can play a little bit quicker, but that is also because Tottenham want to play football. You need always two clubs to play football.”
Fellaini, who scored the opener and was instrumental in Carrick’s second, was lavished praise upon by van Gaal, with the Belgian making his influence known in big games. The former Netherlands manager also reserved praise for Spanish duo Ander Herrera and Juan Mata.
“He (Fellaini) had already played a lot of games in which he had a big influence. He has scored goals but he also has assists, and now we play also in that shape in the midfield, and that was good. I’m very happy for him. I think the midfield was controlling the game. I think [Ander] Herrera played a very good match but also [Juan] Mata played a very good match.”
19-year-old Andreas Pereira made his Premier League debut against Tottenham. The Belgium born Brazilian made his Manchester United debut in the League Cup exit against League 1 minnows MK Dons, and came on for Juan Mata for the final 13 to make his Premier League debut. Van Gaal justified giving the youngster a run, recognizing the youngsters efforts for the reserves.
“When you are 19 and already in the selection [squad] of Manchester United, then you must have a big talent otherwise you would not be in there. I am very happy that I could give him his Premier League debut.”
The Dutchman finally discussed the ‘rat-race’, claiming his side took a ‘big-step’ in their chase for a Champions League spot.
“We made a very big first step, but now we have to go to Liverpool which is also a competitor of ours.”
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