Louis van Gaal has believes Andy Carroll has special qualities and is hoping the Manchester United defence can keep him at bay when they take on West Ham United in the FA Cup quarter-final replay at the Boleyn Ground on Wednesday (13 April). The English striker scored a hat-trick during the 3-3 draw against Arsenal on Saturday (9 April) as he makes a case for a place in the England squad for Euro 2016.
The Dutch manager, who was speaking following his side's 3-0 demolition at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur, is hoping his defenders, who he believes lacked proper communication during the game, will be better equipped to handle Carroll on Wednesday. Van Gaal has stressed the importance of the game, which is United's last hope for silverware this season, and failure to beat the Hammers will see them go barren for three consecutive seasons.
Slaven Bilic's team almost pulled off the comeback victory of the season when they came from two goals down to lead 3-2 against Arsenal in the Premier League, but a goal from Laurent Koscielny with 20 minutes to go put a dent on both clubs' hopes in their respective races for the title and a Champions League place respectively. Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini were the star performers and the former Bayern Munich manager has identified the duo as potential threats apart from the big striker.
"I have seen the Andy Carroll Show. And today our problem was miscommunication of our central defenders," Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"I hope we improve our communication because it is very important for us, it is the last chance of a title so it is very important for the players, the fans, and the manager and still we have one day less than West Ham United, so that is also important," the Dutchman explained.
"But we have proved against Arsenal and City that, despite fewer days to recover, we could beat them. So I hope we shall recover very well but everybody knows this is the last chance."
"He has special qualities and we have seen that in the match he played. It was against Arsenal, who have great central defenders, so we have to cope with not just Andy Carroll but the other players. They have a certain player named (Dimitri) Payet. And (Manuel) Lanzini, who can score goals," he added.
Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, could be set for a return to the first-team for their visit to East London after playing for over an hour for the U21's against Middlesbrough on Monday night (11 April). Van Gaal had admitted, ahead of their game at Whilte Hart Lane, that he will be considered if he plays for an hour for the reserves.