Van Gaal re­lieved af­ter win

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER — Manch­ester United man­ager Louis van Gaal ad­mit­ted to feel­ing “re­lieved” af­ter Wayne Rooney ended the club’s 404-minute scor­ing drought to se­cure a 1-0 vic­tory over CSKA Moscow.

United had drawn their three pre­vi­ous games 0-0 and a fourth con­sec­u­tive goal­less draw - un­prece­dented in the club’s his­tory - was on the cards as Tues­day’s game at Old Traf­ford en­tered its fi­nal 15 min­utes.

But in the 79th minute, Rooney met Jesse Lin­gard’s deft volleyed pass from the right with a bul­let header that el­e­vated United to the top of Cham­pi­ons League Group B with two matches re­main­ing.

“We de­serve it to­tally, I think. I’m re­lieved, but also proud, be­cause it’s not so easy,” said the Dutch­man, af­ter United’s first home win against Rus­sian op­po­si­tion in four at­tempts.

“In the golden years of Manch­ester United, I have read, they never won against a Rus­sian team at home.

“Ev­ery­body thinks it is easy for Man United, but it is not easy for one club to win in the Cham­pi­ons League.”

Rooney has been widely crit­i­cised af­ter a string of slug­gish dis­plays, but his header saw him equal De­nis Law’s tally of 237 United goals, putting him joint-sec­ond in the club’s all-time list, 12 goals be­hind Bobby Charl­ton.

Asked if it vin­di­cated his con­tin­ued sup­port for the United cap­tain, Van Gaal replied: “Yeah, but I back all my play­ers. Not only Wayne Rooney, but Wayne Rooney is al­ways the cen­tre of at­ten­tion so I have to an­swer al­ways ques­tions about Wayne Rooney. Now, again.

“But Wayne is Wayne and he shall al­ways con­trib­ute in a game. I’m very happy be­cause I put him again in the striker’s po­si­tion and then he scored.

“And it was a fan­tas­tic goal be­cause the prepa­ra­tion was fan­tas­tic — the tackle of Mar­cos Rojo, the pass of Michael Carrick, the cut-back of Jesse Lin­gard and then the header of Rooney.

“It was fan­tas­tic and I’m very happy about the per­for­mance of my play­ers, but also about the re­sult and also about the fact we are top of the group.”

Rooney’s goal also served to spare Van Gaal from the wrath of United’s fans, who aimed a vol­ley of boos in his di­rec­tion when he re­placed An­thony Mar­tial with Marouane Fel­laini in the 66th minute.

“Of course I heard it. I’m not deaf,” Van Gaal said. “It’s just the opin­ion of the fans. But af­ter they shall not be dis­ap­pointed by the de­ci­sion of the man­ager.”

The United man­ager might not have been able to shrug the in­ci­dent off so eas­ily had it not been for a goal-line block mo­ments be­fore Rooney’s goal by Chris Smalling, who slid in to clear Sey­dou Doumbia’s goal-bound shot af­ter the CSKA sub­sti­tute had been de­nied by goal­keeper David de Gea.

Van Gaal ac­knowl­edged the im­por­tance of

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