Manchester United face Crystal Palace in the final of the FA Cup tonight, as they look to put a disappointing season behind them and win their first trophy under Louis Van Gaal.
Manchester United failed to qualify for the Champions League next season after their loss against West Ham United and City’s draw against Swansea. United had a chance after City had squandered their lead towards the end of the season, but the Red Devils failed to capitalise and eventually had to settle for 5th spot. However, manager Louis Van Gaal, in his press conference, stated that the FA Cup held greater importance than qualification for the Champions League.
He said, “I think it is always important. When you win silverware, it’s important for the players, because a qualification is not a title. A title is the FA Cup or championship, because they can look and hold the trophy, so that’s an exciting moment also.” The manager insisted that they were playing in ‘the most prestigious temple in England’ and that ‘confirms’ how important the trophy is.
The match day squads were released, and there didn’t seem to be any place for Memphis Depay in United’s match day squad. The 22 year old has endured a miserable first season at Old Trafford since moving from PSV Eindhoven, but his omission still comes as a surprise and raises questions over his future. Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo has been declared fit to start along with Darmian. All three have been included in the match day squad and Fellaini may start in order to combat the aerial threat of Crystal Palace.
The manager has 27 players to chose from for the 18 man squad, so he has the tough task of having to leave some players out and the notable one to miss out along with Depay is Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
Louis Van Gaal will look to win United first FA Cup since 2004 and win his first trophy as United manager at the same time. He said:”I have read that the last FA Cup was 2004 so it’s a long time ago, so also for Manchester United it’s a big title I think, especially as it was a long time ago.”
The Dutchman has come under a lot of slack for United’s disappointing finish this season, which is seen by many as a step backward. Their ‘boring’ football and inability to build on last season’s finish even with all the money spent last summer has fans calling for his head. A first FA Cup triumph for Manchester United in 12 years may help save his job, but even that can’t be guaranteed with Jose Mourinho lurking in the background.