Louis van Gaal declared himself pleasantly surprised at the quality of Manchester United’s performance as they eased past Derby in the FA Cup.
The Red Devils secured a comfortable 3-1 win at the iPro thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney, Daley Blind, and Juan Mata to become the first team into the hat for the fifth round draw.
However, while the Dutchman was pleased with what he saw, he admits it surprised him as he had seen no evidence of such a performance coming on the training ground.
“It was maybe better than we had trained,” said Van Gaal. “We played at the right time against the resistance of Derby.
“We gave their goal away but at half-time I said that it was a good performance, keep it up and we will win. And we did.
“Daley Blind’s goal? You have to sniff it and he sniffed it. It was a great goal.
“The Premier League is very important but the FA Cup is the greatest cup in England with a long and important history. We haven’t won it for a long time so we dream of it. After two wins you can’t say that we will win it.”
Van Gaal’s determination to win the FA Cup was matched by Juan Mata who, after completing the scoring on the night, declared it far too long since Man Utd lifted the famous trophy.
“I know it has been a few years since Manchester United won it, but I think we have to focus on each round,” he said, referencing the fact the club have not won the FA Cup since the 2003/04 season.
“Today we did our job and we are looking forward to the next game. It was really important for us. It was not easy for us to come here to Derby.
“Even though they are not in the Premier League, they are a good team that press and are physically strong.
“We came here to play football, we played much quicker than the last games, and we scored two goals and had even more chances to score. At the end of the day, it was a very good performance.”