Man United gave nothing away – Van Gaal

The Dutch coach was thrilled with his side’s comeback against Preston, which sets up a quarter-final against Arsenal, while he is still working out Marouane Fellaini’s best role

Louis van Gaal has hailed the spirit of his Manchester United team after they came from a goal down to beat Preston 3-1 in the FA Cup fifth round.

The Premier League side, who will host Arsenal in the quarter-finals, went behind to Scott Laird’s deflected strike early in the second half, but Van Gaal turned to his bench to alter the shape of his side and kick-start their comeback.

The former Netherlands boss admits his side were given a tough test on Monday, but was delighted with their response to going a goal down as strikes from Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney secured their passage.

When asked about his side’s second-half display, Van Gaal told BBC Sport afterwards: “In the first half I was also reasonably satisfied because we didn’t give anything away.

“It’s always difficult in such games, especially with the long balls and the fights between the central defenders and Kevin Davies, it’s always difficult, but we didn’t give anything away – they had one chance I believe in the first half.”

He continued: “In the second half, the goal was a little bit unlucky. But after that we showed again a team spirit which was unbelievable, we changed the shape and that was the solution I think.

“We also scored fantastic goals, a little bit lucky also, but good. Especially the second goal, Antonio Valencia’s ball for Fellaini. We have trained for that a lot so I was very happy for Valencia.”

The withdrawal of Radamel Falcao saw Fellaini, initially lining up in midfield, move into a more advanced role, yielding the goal which saw United take the lead, but Van Gaal admits he struggles to fit the Belgain in his side.

“We can always beat the pressure with him and he scores goals,” the Dutch coach added. “But I played him now for the first time in the position that he wants, but I don’t always have a position for him and that’s my problem.”

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