Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United have reached the final of the FA Cup, after defeating Everton 2-1 in a nervy affair. United haven’t reached the final of the competition for seven years and have not lifted the Cup in 12 years.
After months of dissatisfaction surrounding van Gaal’s ‘negative’ style of possession-based play, it seems that silverware is not too far away. Despite all the bad feeling towards van Gaal’s policies, the current United manager undoubtedly deserves credit for the bravery he has shown in placing faith in young players.
The emergence of young talents Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah as first team players has surprised many this season, but the trio have been crucial factors in United’s late surge this season and all three are likely to be trusted with vital roles in the FA Cup final.
United fans will recall when Sir Alex Ferguson crucially secured the FA Cup amid turmoil in the league, to ultimately maintain his job.
But even if van Gaal’s men do manage to bypass Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace in the final, the Dutchman’s contract could well be terminated at the end of the season in order to make way for the so called ‘special one’, José Mourinho.
In recent weeks United have acquired greater control in matches through the in-game experience and passing range of Wayne Rooney. The 30-year-old impressively fulfilled the central midfield position in the semi-final, as he displayed his ability to seek out speedsters Anthony Martial and Rashford from a deeper role.
Throughout his illustrious career Rooney has never won the FA Cup, so the stakes will be high for him and his prospering teammates when United meet Palace at Wembley Stadium on 21 May.