Manchester United recorded their first victory in eight league matches against Swansea on Saturday, with Wayne Rooney scoring an ingenious back heel goal to gain the important three points. This victory eased the pressure on manager Louis Van Gaal, who now insists that this could be a “fantastic starting point” for Manchester United in 2016.
Because of this poor run of results, the pressure on Louis Van Gaal had increased exponentially, and there had been rumors that the Dutch manager would be sacked following the Christmas period.
But now, after Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Swansea, Van Gaal believes that his side could go on a good run of results, following their worst spells since January 1990.
Van Gaal told the BBC, “It’s amazing that you can perform the game plan like we have done, in a risky style, under this pressure. I hope this is a fantastic starting point for us.”
Manchester United are now just two points off a top four spot, with Tottenham Hotspur currently above them, and they are nine points behind the top of the table Arsenal.
Louis Van Gaal’s side’s first victory since November 21, when they beat Watford, will hopefully silence his critics, according to the man himself. Van Gaal continued, “We are still near the top of the league and the gap is less. So that’s football. A season takes eight months, or something like that, and not one month. We are sitting on the bench in a more relaxed way.”
Manchester United secured victory against Swansea thanks to a gorgeous Wayne Rooney flick, as he diverted a cross home from Anthony Martial, whose great wing play saw him drive the ball towards his striking partner. The Frenchman had looked like Manchester United’s most dangerous player throughout the contest, and it was his header that put Manchester United in front.
Manchester United failed to add to their lead though, and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s header, which looped over David De Gea, drew Swansea level with only 20 minutes late. United’s Old Trafford faithful soon began to worry that they were about to see their team drop even more points, but Wayne Rooney proved his worth with only his third goal of the Premier League season.
United were able to hang on to their victory despite renewed pressure from Swansea, who almost secured an equalizer through their goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with the last touch of the game, as he came up for a corner to try and assist his team.
Speaking about his relief that Manchester United had secured victory, Louis Van Gaal admitted, “I am very happy for the players because they had to play under big pressure and now we have won.”
Van Gaal also explained why Manchester United played a risky system against Swansea, declaring, “I think we played a very risky system against Swansea because they had a shape with four midfielders in a diamond. I hope this is a fantastic starting point for us in the New Year and we can continue against Sheffield United.”
Manchester United’s next match comes in the FA Cup Third Round against the League One side, who are currently in eighth place in their division. They then follow this up with away games against Newcastle and Liverpool, before they then round off the month of January with a home game against Southampton.
[Image via Getty/Clive Brunskill]