Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal says his young first-team players gave “a lot of spirit” after a 1-0 win against Watford at Old Trafford that puts them level on points with fourth-placed Manchester City.
Van Gaal has been forced to field the club’s young talent due to an ongoing injury crisis, and they impressed once again in the victory over Watford at Old Trafford, with Juan Mata scoring a late free-kick to seal a 1-0 win.
The rise of 18-year-old Marcus Rashford has given Van Gaal a much needed boost, while defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah impressed on his full first-team debut when faced against Watford striker Odion Ighalo, who has scored 14 Premier League goals this season.
And Van Gaal was full of praise for his team, who’s average age was only 23 for the win against the Hornets.
“I think the youngsters give us a lot of spirit,” said Van Gaal. “You see the joy, all the players are laughing and it’s beautiful to see. It shall accelerate the recoveries of the players.”
Midfielder Ander Herrera agreed with his manager and believes that the young players have played a huge part in their upturn.
“We are showing passion, we fight to the end,” he said. “We show when we don’t play good we can win. I think that the attitude is very good, the young players are helping us.
“This month very important, getting some players back to the team and I am optimistic because we can still fight for everything.”
With United having won their last four games, manager Van Gaal believes they are finding form at the perfect time.
The Dutchman said: “We are fighting and we are struggling but, in the struggle, we can play fantastic matches.
“The performance was not so good, no. It was very difficult to play good football and it became a physical game.
“When you see the size of the players of Watford and our size, we are not in a beneficial situation, so I have to give compliments to my players.
“Watford pressed high, we gave the ball away and they had chances but Timothy (Fosu-Mensah) has saved us several times because of his speed, so I was pleased he was on the pitch. He wanted to go off but I wanted him to stay on.”