Darmian was the hero as Manchester United cruised to victory against Crystal Palace. The victory throws open the race for the final two Champions League slots in England, with 3 clubs each separated by a point.
Coach Louis van Gaal asserted that his team are strong contenders for a Champions League spot after the victory against the Eagles. He said, “Of course we are in the race and we are two points behind City and Arsenal [who are one point ahead of United] have to play tomorrow [Thursday] against West Bromwich Albion.
“It is not an easy opponent because they will defend, probably, and it is always difficult. You have seen Arsenal against Crystal Palace – it is always difficult.”
Room for improvement despite win
Van Gaal, although jubilant from being able to lead his side back into the Champions League places after capitalising on their city rival’s slip up earlier in the week, said that “[w]e should have finished it much earlier and scored much more goals. We created a lot of chances and we did not give any chances away – one, maybe, in the first half for Adebayor.”
On Matteo Darmian
The coach thinks that hard work has finally paid off for the young Italian who earlier this month had been severely criticised because of his performances. Van Gaal said, “Yes it helps of course and also such a goal [for the second].”
“I was very happy for Matteo [Darmian], two times he was involved in the goals and I have seen it already in the training session. He was the top scorer of the day on Monday and he did it again in the match. He shot with his left and right foot, and now he shot for his goal with his left foot.”
FA Cup in sight
United will travel to Wembley on Saturday for the FA Cup semi final clash against Everton who are languishing in the 11th place of the Premier League table at the moment.
The manager said, “Of course the semi-final is not nothing. I came to England to win titles and now are very close. But first we have to beat Everton and that is not so easy. Also when they have lost to Liverpool 4-0, with 10 men it is difficult against Liverpool I think [Ramiero Funes Mori was sent off].”
Should United beat Everton, they will once again have a chance of encountering Crystal Palace who face Watford in the other semi final tie. This will potentially set up a meeting between the Eagles and the Reds once again as the two will look to roll back the years to the late 80s when the two teams met in the FA cup final in front of an 80,000 crowd.