Manchester United finally managed to register a win to appease their fans and give Louis van Gaal some room to breathe. The manager hailed the Red Devils’ ‘fantastic’ 3-0 victory over League One side Shrewsbury Town, insisting that the game was not as easy as it seemed.
It has been a terrible February for Manchester United so far. They lost 2-1 to Sunderland in the Premier League and were beaten by the same scoreline in the Europa League by Danish minnows FC Midtjylland as well. However, the Red Devils found some respite against League One side Shrewsbury Town, who are 60 league places below them in the English leagues.
Goals from Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard ensured that Manchester Untied qualified for a tough quarter-final tie against West Ham United. After the match, Louis van Gaal hailed the performance and praised his players, as well as revealing a trick he learned from the Midtjylland defeat.
“Everybody shall say it is easy against Shrewsbury Town and Manchester United has to win but we have seen very difficult results in the FA Cup, not always the top team is winning, so I think we have done it fantastically,” Van Gaal said, according to the Guardian.
Van Gaal learning from the great Danes
During extra time in the first half, Juan Mata scored Manchester United’s second goal in an unusual fashion. Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Ander Herrera all stood in an offside position but moved onside as Mata took the free kick that found its way to the back of the net. After the match, Louis van Gaal revealed that the move was well rehearsed in training and was something he had picked up after studying match videos of their Europa League opponents FC Midtjylland.
The Dutchman is quoted by England’s Mail Online as saying: “We have learnt because we have analysed Midjytlland. And we have seen that they are doing that and we think it is always offside.
“We have asked the referees, at the time the Portuguese referees, and they are saying no, there’s no offside you can do that. That’s why we have learned off Midjytlland the taking of the free-kicks and today we scored, and that’s good I think.”
The ghosts of their shock Europa League defeat seem to have been turned into training ground techniques by the Dutch manager. However, as they gear up for the return leg at Old Trafford on the 26th of February, Van Gaal will look to pull out every trick in his book to ensure that the Red Devils progress to the next round.