Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford and defender Matteo Darmian did not pick up injuries during the derby win over Manchester City, with manager Louis van Gaal confirming both players came down with cramp during the victory at the Etihad Stadium. Match-winner Rashford and Italian full-back Darmian both went down during the second half of the 1-0 Premier League win but have escaped long-term damage.
Rashford played the full 90 minutes despite pulling up several times in the closing minutes, after Van Gaal had made all three of his substitutions. One of those saw Darmian replaced by Tim Fosu-Mensah after 84 minutes, following a bout of treatment on the ex-Torino defender. The game came less than 72 hours after the Europa League draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford, and although Van Gaal expected fatigue among the squad, the pair have avoided joining the club's injury list.
"A lot of players had cramp, but that's logical I think when you play on Thursday too," the United boss explained, according to the club's official website. "I'm very happy. I think we played a very good first half. The second half we had chances to score the second, but then we fought until the end and survived.
"I think it [the performance] was fantastic. We did it also against Arsenal after playing on a Thursday and beat them and we have beaten Manchester City also. I am very happy because it's not easy to win here."
United's injury problems, which currently see the likes of Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Phil Jones sidelined, have undermined their attempts to finish in the Premier League top four and qualify for next season's Champions League. The win at fourth-place City saw Van Gaal's side close to within a point of their neighbours, and the Dutch coach says their top four ambitions are now in their own hands.
"I have said that we must win this game and we have done it so I am very happy because otherwise the gap was too big if they won, or a draw and the gap was still four points then it is very difficult," he added after United ended a run of four games without a win, according to the Manchester Evening News. "Now it is in our hands. We have to win our games. We have more home matches than away matches. We don't lose often at Old Trafford.
"I have seen the dressing room after the match and it was fantastic, the happiness. I don't think we have had a lot of luck this season and now we have a big result against Man City at the Etihad Stadium.
"We are one point behind [City], equal with West Ham United and more home matches than away matches left so you have a big possibility. The players feel that and I can only give a compliment to all the players that they can give this. I am very happy for the fans because it means a lot to win against City."