Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says fans have every reason to still be happy with the club, adding those who left Old Trafford early on 9 January did so to beat the traffic. An injury-time penalty from Wayne Rooney spared United a replay against League One opponents Sheffield United in their FA Cup third-round clash; a game where United did not register a shot on target until the 69th minute.
Moments before that, Memphis Depay's off-target effort from range – United's first effort of any kind all game – was greeted by sarcastic cheers from those in the Stretford End, as frustrated supporters made their discontent known.
On the cheers, Van Gaal told a press conference ahead of the meeting with Newcastle United on 12 January: "Yes, I can understand that because it was a fact that we were not shooting too much or were not able to shoot at the goal so much. That they were ironic I can imagine. Because it was our first shot after 20 minutes," United's official website reports.
Old Trafford had notably emptied out when Depay was fouled by Sheffield United's Dean Hammond in the dying minutes of the game, setting up Rooney to seal the tie from the penalty spot.
While another turgid performance left supporters unimpressed, Van Gaal insists United fans should be happy to have seen the club win their first two games of 2016, following on from the 2-1 win over Swansea City on 2 January.
"You have to be happy as a Manchester United fan that we are in next round and we have won the last two games," he said. When asked why many had left the stadium early, Van Gaal said: "They are not thinking that we would score, I think, and maybe also because of the traffic that they leave the stadium a few minutes early. There are many reasons."