LONDON – Louis van Gaal was delighted Manchester United ended the festive schedule a point closer to Chelsea and with a place in the FA Cup fourth round but the manager endured more misery on the injury front after Rafael da Silva was taken off with a suspected fractured cheekbone and Luke Shaw picked up a knock to his ankle in the 2-0 victory at Yeovil Town.
Both Da Silva and Shaw were withdrawn at half-time in a game United were making hard work of until Ander Herreraâ€™s superb volley in the 64th minute gave the Premier League club the lead. Ãngel di MarÃa then came off the substitutesâ€™ bench and, after clearing a header off the line from Joe Edwards, the Yeovil captain, at one end of the pitch, the Argentinian put the game to bed at the other when he scored in the 90th minute following a fine pass from Wayne Rooney.
While Van Gaal was pleased that his players found a way past a well-organised Yeovil side, the fresh injuries are a major concern, given United have been without so many players in defence this season. Da Silva, who is believed to have been taken to hospital, had not long returned from a spell on the sidelines while Shawâ€™s first season at Old Trafford has been plagued by injuries.
â€œI think we have a lot of problems in the first half,â€ Van Gaal said. â€œRafael da Silva has an injury, a fracture of his bone. So it was fantastic the cuts that he played through but I have to change him and also Luke Shaw had an ankle problem, so I had to change him also.
â€œWe have to wait and see [with Rafael] because he is now already taken away in a car. I donâ€™t know [how it happened], I have to watch the video again. It was a duel, also the same with Shaw. It was a very physical game I think. Rafael played through because the last weeks he doesnâ€™t play so much any more, now he can play and heâ€™s injured.â€
Van Gaal was full of praise for Yeovil, who are bottom of League One but played with no shortage of spirit and had a wonderful chance to take the lead in the second half only for Kieffer Moore to shoot tamely at David de Gea. Frustrated with his players for being too impatient to score in the first half, Van Gaal reverted to 4-4-2 after the interval and felt that United controlled the game much better.
Asked whether it should have been so difficult for United against a team so far below them on the league ladder, Van Gaal said: â€œItâ€™s not a matter of far below because when you see the performance of Yeovil Town, it was fantastic how they pressed the ball â€“ always the ball was under pressure. When you have no patience like us in the first half, then it is more difficult. In the second half we played better I think but it takes also a long time to score the goal.
â€œItâ€™s not so easy. Everybody thinks: â€˜OK, these players are from Manchester United, â‚¬100m against â‚¬5,000â€™, but itâ€™s not like that. We played also with Holland against teams that are much more expensive in the World Cup. When you can organise your team like the manager of Yeovil Town has done, and they believe in it, then you can do a lot.
â€œBut I am very happy that we have won. I am very happy that we have survived this festive period because I donâ€™t have a big selection because of all the injuries, so I could not change much and in spite of that we have regained ground to Chelsea and we are in the fourth round of the FA Cup. What more can a manager wish for?â€ – The Guardian