Louis van Gaal hailed the ‘unbelievable spirit’ in his team after Manchester United came from behind to force an FA Cup quarter-final replay with West Ham.
Dimitri Payet’s stunning 35-yard free kick looked to have sealed the Hammers’ place in the semi-final draw tomorrow night, but Anthony Martial’s late equaliser means that a replay at Upton Park will take place between the two sides.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game at Old Trafford, Van Gaal said that he was pleased with his side’s response after a poor performance against Liverpool in the Europa League in midweek:
I was very happy because, when you see the spirit of my team, it’s unbelievable. When you lose a game against Liverpool, it’s very deep in the club and all the players know that, and then you have to play within a few days against West Ham.
They’re a very good team and have fully prepared for this game for one week. We have to recover within two days and then are 1-0 behind so then, coming back like that, it’s fantastic. I’m very happy for my players. I think also the fans have enjoyed this game and I think that’s important.
The United manager also felt that his side’s equaliser was legal after replays showed that Bastian Schweinsteiger may have impeded West Ham keeper Darren Randolph in the build-up:
I have seen the video, of course, and I think Schweinsteiger gets a push from a defender so he did not do it deliberately [to impede the goalkeeper].
Finally, Van Gaal said he was ‘disappointed’ by the reaction the Old Trafford crowd gave when Marouane Fellaini was substituted in the second half. There were audible cheers when the Belgian came off for Schweinsteiger:
I think [Marouane] Fellaini played, again, a good match. He performed well in our game-plan so that [the crowd reaction] was disappointing but it was the only moment that I was disappointed. The fans were supporting our side in spite of two losses this week. Maybe they have another opinion to me.