Van Gaal braced for Derby duel in FA Cup

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Manch­ester United man­ager Louis van Gaal has his back to the wall once again ahead of his side's FA Cup fourth-round tie at se­cond-tier Derby County on Fri­day. Satur­day's woe­ful 1-0 de­feat at home to Southamp­ton prompted press re­ports that Van Gaal had of­fered to re­sign and al­though those claims were re­but­ted by fig­ures within the club, de­feat at Derby will see the spec­u­la­tion ramp up all over again.

United needed a stop­page-time Wayne Rooney penalty to over­come third- tier Sh­effield United in round three and the United cap­tain is an­tic­i­pat­ing an­other test­ing evening at the iPro Sta­dium, where United won 4-1 in the fifth round in 2009. "We know, as we've played there be­fore, that it will be a dif­fi­cult game with a good at­mos­phere on Fri­day night," Rooney told MUTV. "I'm sure they will be re­ally up for it with their crowd and we will be up for it as we've ex­pe­ri­enced th­ese games. The play­ers who joined us last year and played against Cam­bridge and Yeovil will have seen that an FA Cup tie like this is more of a bat­tle than a foot­ball game.

"We have to be ready for that and be ready for a tough game as the cup is full of sur­prises. Derby have noth­ing to lose. No-one is ex­pect­ing them to win and they will try to cause an up­set. We know that and have to be ready for that. "It will be a dif­fi­cult night for us. Sh­effield United at home was a tough game, so we have to be ready to bat­tle and win the bat­tle. Hope­fully then our qual­i­ties will show through."

Derby, man­aged by for­mer Real Madrid as­sis­tant coach Paul Cle­ments, go into the game on the back of a heavy 4-1 loss to Cham­pi­onship pro­mo­tion ri­vals Burn­ley, which left them fifth in Eng­land's se­cond divi­sion. But Cle­ments is rel­ish­ing the chance to lead his play­ers out against United, who Derby last over­came in the FA Cup in 1897. "What a chal­lenge, to play one of ar­guably the big­gest clubs in world foot­ball," he told the Derby web­site. "It's clear they're not hav­ing the best time them­selves at the mo­ment, but it's an op­por­tu­nity for two teams to come to­gether and put in a per­for­mance.

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