Van Gaal keen to keep United ace Rashford sharp

Date published: Tuesday 19th April 2016 4:44 - Matthew Briggs

Marcus Rashford: In fine form

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has hinted he is unlikely to rest Marcus Rashford and believes it is important for the youngster to maintain his “goalscoring momentum”.

United host Crystal palace at Old Trafford on Wednesday and have an FA Cup semi-final with Everton looming at Wembley on Saturday, but when asked whether he would rest the 18-year-old striker, Van Gaal said: “I have changed him after 70 minutes, I believe, and that is also to give him a little bit of rest.

“He didn’t train the day after and also the day after that he didn’t train.

“I want to keep him fresh because he is in the momentum of scoring and that is very important for him but also for the team.”

The teenager has been an ever-present in the United side since breaking into the first-team fold at the end of February, scoring twice in the Europa League win over Midtjylland.

Rashford has gone on to make 11 more appearances and his goal tally now stands at seven after his brilliant FA Cup goal against West Ham and strike in the weekend’s win over Aston Villa.

Van Gaal also insisted his players will not take their eye off the ball in midweek against a Palace side, who have only won once in the Premier League since the turn of the year.

“I always have an eye on the schedule on my team. I have to look if there will be an overload.

“It is important to beat Crystal Palace and they have the same problem

“They are also in the semi-final and maybe they are thinking about that game. But we have to win our game against them.

“This game against Crystal Palace is very important,” said Van Gaal. “We have to win, we need to win, so it’s much more important to win this game than, for example, for Arsenal or Manchester City, because they have that gap of four points over us. So for us it’s too important to rotate for rotation’s sake or for freshness for the semi-final.

“We have to look to ourselves, We have to win, we must win, otherwise we cannot close the gap. They have four more points than us. We are dependant on them [dropping points], but you can only give pressure by winning.

“The most important thing is to win this game. I have already explained why, otherwise the gap is too big for the amount of matches we have left to play.

“I cannot predict [what will happen with other teams], that is why you have to look to yourselves and win your own games. A lot of team are losing points and we have to look to win the finishing five matches.”

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