Football

Van Gaal's United saw off Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

Louis van Gaal wanted more goals from Manchester United

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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal would have liked more goals from his side after they kept up their top-four push with a 2-0 win against fellow FA Cup semi-finalists Crystal Palace.

A fourth-minute Damien Delaney own goal and a cracking Matteo Darmian strike 10 minutes after the break steered United to victory at Old Trafford in a game they thoroughly dominated.

It leaves the fifth-placed Red Devils a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who play their game in hand against West Brom on Thursday.

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One disappointing factor

And Van Gaal said: "I have told my players after the match that it was a good game - the only remark was that we didn't score too much goals, because it was a match (that should have had a scoreline) of 5-0, I think.

"But I am pleased with the way we have played. We have created a lot of chances in the first half and the second half, and we didn't give any away - maybe one in the first half and that was it, so I am very pleased."

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Van Gaal, whose side have four more league games to go and face Everton in the cup semi-final on Saturday, said: "I wanted three points, because that was the most important thing.

"We needed to close the gap, we needed to win and that is what I said to my players in advance of the match.

Semi-finals next up

"We had to win, and that we have done - and now it is another game.

"I have said 'first you can enjoy (this), but you must recover also because soon you have to play again.'

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League

"Now we have to do it again, at quarter past five on Saturday."

Praise for Rooney

Wayne Rooney, occupying a midfield role, made his third appearance since returning to action from a knee injury, and Van Gaal was full of praise for the captain.

"He played about 75 minutes and I am building up his capacity in the matches," Van Gaal said.

"He was the player who switched the play, and I liked that very much.

"Not any player has a fixed position. I use a player where I think they can give a high contribution in a particular game.

"It was more of a midfield role today, because of the way Crystal Palace was playing and I didn't want to change (striker) Marcus Rashford from his position, so we had to look for another position for Wayne.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League

"He played there also last year, so it is not something new for him, and I am very happy with the way he performed."

Fans stay away

Although the official attendance given for the match was 75,277 - a figure understood to reflect the number of tickets sold - there appeared to be quite a few empty seats at Old Trafford.

But when that was put to Van Gaal in his post-match press conference, he brushed off the suggestion.

"I don't see a lot of empty seats - but you have seen it because you want to see it," the Dutchman said.

Sixteenth-placed Palace have their last-four Wembley date on Sunday when they take on Watford.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League

And boss Alan Pardew said it was understandable if his much-changed side were distracted by thoughts of the tie.

Palace lose focus

"The FA Cup, for Manchester United, is going to be a big, big event - but for us, it is a huge event," Pardew said.

"I could see a bit of blurred focus from our players in terms of that game, and that is understandable.

"A lot of our guys might never get another chance to get to an FA Cup final.

"You could see a little bit of that in our play, but I hope you give us a little bit of leeway on that."

Should Manchester United be favourites for the FA Cup? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Crystal Palace
Football
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo

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