We gained a stolen victory says Van Gaal

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said his side had kept their hopes of a fourth-placed finish alive with “more or less a stolen victory” after beating Everton 1-0 at Old Trafford.

In a game low on incident, the home side sealed the points when Anthony Martial tucked away a cross after half-time.

Everton hit the bar through a Phil Jagielka header as they searched for a way back into the contest, but United held on to go just one point behind fourth-placed neighbours Manchester City.

Van Gaal told Sky Sports: “We were the lucky team. It was more or less a stolen victory.”

And speaking to reporters, he said: “We didn’t play so well. Today it was not the best form. We were not fresh enough today.

“We had, more or less, three days preparation — much more than against Manchester City or Arsenal — but you never know how players are, when they are coming back from the international break.

“We gave them one day more off than normal, but we started off not fresh. I think Everton were much fresher.”

The Dutchman added: “I said that it was very important to win today, otherwise the victory against City [1-0 in their previous league game] was worthless.

“We kept in touch with City and Arsenal. We now have to go to Tottenham, not an easy match — but normally we play well against the top teams.”

He praised the performance of Daley Blind, saying: “I need to give him rest. I don’t want to give him rest because he is playing well — you saw that today. But I will give him two days off this week, and then he will be okay again.”

The manager said he had taken off Marcos Rojo and replaced him with Timothy Fosu-Mensah at half-time because Rojo “has a problem with his jet lag.”

Fosu-Mensah created the goal, and Van Gaal added: “I saw the space at the right side and said to Timothy that he had to profit from that. When the player is doing that, it’s also luck for the manager. Every credit is for Timothy, not the manager.”

And on a day when United renamed their South Stand in honour of club legend Sir Bobby Charlton, who has given 60 years of service to the club, Van Gaal said Sir Bobby “deserved the victory” that his team had delivered.

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