After being a goal down against Preston North End, Manchester United came back and scored three goals in the second half to win the game 3-1 and progress to the quarter finals of the FA Cup.
Goals from Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney got United the crucial win, and despite another instance of the Red Devils being below-par, manager Van Gaal was happy with the performance.
Scott Laird had given the League One team an early second half lead but the Dutchman praised the resilience and fighting spirit of his players and team, as they progressed further and set up a quarter-final tie with Arsenal.
“I was reasonably satisfied with the first half,” said Van Gaal. “We didn’t give anything away and it’s always difficult in such games especially with the long balls and the fights between the central defenders and Kevin Davies.
“It’s always difficult but we only gave away one chance, I believe, in the first half.
“Then, in the second half, their goal was a little bit unlucky because it deflected but, after then, we showed an unbelievable team spirit again. We changed the shape and that was the solution.”
Van Gaal substituted striker Radamel Falcao after an hour for Ashley Young with his side 1-0 down, and admits United were lucky at times in the second half.
“I think we scored fantastic goals also but were a little bit lucky as well,” he added.
“It was good, especially the second goal when [Antonio] Valencia crossed to the far post for Fellaini. I liked it very much because we trained on that a lot. I was very happy for Valencia.”
Preston boss Simon Grayson took heart from his team’s performance against a team like Manchester United. But just moments after the final whistle, his focus was already on the side’s league campaign and the prospect of a potential return to the Championship.
“We did create some good chances at times and the players can wake up in the morning and be very proud of what they’ve done,” he said.
“They didn’t let the game pass them by. We said before the game we had to wake up in the morning with no regrets and they did that. Hopefully we can use this as motivation for the rest of the year.