Louis van Gaal was delighted with his team's performance as Manchester United booked their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup following a 2-1 victory over West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground on Wednesday (13 April). The Dutchman credited his defenders for not allowing the Hammers' offence a chance to get into the game and believes if they had taken their chances the game would have been wrapped much earlier.
The Red Devils went ahead 10 minutes into the second-half through a brilliant strike from Marcus Rashford and then doubled their lead just after the hour mark through Marouane Fellaini. Their two-goal lead did not last for long as James Tomkins headed in with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Slaven Bilic's team, who were below par, came alive after the defender's goal and put the United defence under tremendous pressure in the closing stages. There was just one barrier between West Ham and taking it to extra time and that was David de Gea. The Spaniard pulled some incredible saves to keep the 11-times FA Cup champions in the driving seat and Van Gaal acknowledged that it was the former Atletico Madrid stopper that saved them in the end.
"It was fantastic — I am happy, I'm happy for the players, the club and the fans. Of course it's a big result and I think we played very well. We played defensively very well — we didn't give so much away. They lost the ball a lot of times and I believe with a bit more composure we could have finished it much earlier," Van Gaal said, as quoted by United's official site.
"I said at half-time we had to show composure in the third and fourth phase. We did that better but I still believe we could have finished the game earlier. At the end it was, of course, not so nice but we are the winners, so it's fantastic.
"When you see the match, we controlled the game for 85 minutes and then suddenly they scored the goal through the kick of Payet, the head of Carroll and of Tomkins — it was also quality. At that time it changed the match but David De Gea saved us. It was a fantastic night," the Dutch coach added.