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Manchester United Progressing, Van Gaal Says After Aston Villa Win

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MANCHESTER United manager Louis van Gaal believes his Manchester United side were worth their narrow victory at Aston Villa on Friday.

United made it two wins from their opening two Premier League games as Adnan Januzaj capped his first start since February with the game’s only goal at Villa Park.

It means United have surpassed their points total from their opening five games of last season in just two games this season, a point which Van Gaal says indicates United are showing signs of improvement.

“We played better than last week and it was an away match so I’m very a happy,” he told Sky Sports.

“We kept the ball well in the first 20 minutes and scored a wonderful goal. (Juan) Mata played a fantastic pass and Adnan produced a fantastic goal.

“After that I think we were nervous because we lost the ball easily. But, in the second half, once the substitutes came on, we played very controlled and could have scored more than the one goal.”

Van Gaal highlighted United’s weathering a second-half Villa fightback as the turning point in the game as substitutes Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera bolstered the visitors’ midfield when under pressure.

“I made substitutions to retain the ball and to profit from the will of Aston Villa, who were high up the pitch and there was a lot of space behind,” the Dutchman added.

“Memphis (Depay) could have scored easily, for example. But we had a lot of possibilities to score more than once and that’s a pity.

“After the subs we played more controlled and, of course, Villa brought (Rudy) Gestede on and then the long balls followed but (Chris) Smalling won every ball.”

United have claimed six points from their opening two games, yet have mustered just three shots on target.

But Van Gaal is unconcerned about United’s lack of prowess in front of goal, highlighting United’s defensive solidity as a positive from their victories against Villa and Tottenham.

“We only gave one chance away this evening and that was very good,” Van Gaal said.

“The few shots on target does not bother me because you have to score one more than your opponent and that’s the result.

“We don’t give many chances away and every game we have had more chances than the opponent.

“It’s difficult to win away games in England and we did it. Last year we drew here, so I’m very happy. The result gives our squad confidence and I changed my line-up and it didn’t matter.” – Sky Sports

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