Louis van Gaal eager to avoid another cup upset at Yeovil

Manchester United manager targets Wembley success after poor run of league results

 Louis van Gaal with Ryan Giggs during Manchester United’s match against Tottenham  at White Hart Lane. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Louis van Gaal with Ryan Giggs during Manchester United’s match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

 

Louis van Gaal has admitted the FA Cup represents Manchester United’s best hope for a trophy this season, as the manager prepares his team for tomorrow’s third-round tie at Yeovil Town. United are third in the Premier League, nine points behind Chelsea and Manchester City, so have an outside chance of challenging for the title, but Van Gaal recognises claiming the cup for a first time since 2004 is more realistic.

“Yes, I think so,” said the Dutchman. “It’s the shortest way to success. You are right – we are very interested. And I think my players [are] also. In the Netherlands we have known for many years that the FA Cup is one of the most important competitions. The FA Cup was shown on the television over there at a time when it was not common to show matches from other countries.

Death or gladioli

Gary Johnson’s Yeovil are bottom of League One, the same division as the MK Dons side that knocked United out of the Capital One Cup. Van Gaal denied this was a lesson in the mentality of lesser sides.

“I know that also [from managing] Ajax and Barcelona. It’s always a shock when you play against a lower team because you assume that you have to win but it’s not like that in football, so I have lost with Ajax against a lower team and I have lost with Barcelona.

“It’s a gladioli game,” he said.

“You are dead or you receive the gladiolus flower and in cup matches it’s always like that. Of course, we have to win against Milton Keynes but we have lost, so what we have learned from that game is what we always learn from games that we lose, what we have not done the right way.

Physical demands

“I have to look to the fitness of my players,” he said. “We have played three games in seven days. But the game against Tottenham was within 48 hours [of St Stepen’s Day], so the cumulative lactic acid is bigger than ever.

“Everything about playing a lower league team will be different – the pitch, the stadium. For the players, it’s difficult to prepare for a match like this, especially after playing so much over Christmas.” Guardian service

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