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Van Gaal: Manchester United stars handled the pressure

The former Barcelona boss believes his team have adapted to his philosophy excellently in their strong recent run and singled out Ashley Young for special praise.

MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER Louis van Gaal believes his squad deserve all the credit for their recent form after they recorded a sixth straight Premier League win with victory over Manchester City.

Goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling secured a 4-2 victory for the Red Devils to move them four points clear of City in third and maintain their push for a Champions League place.

Van Gaal’s philosophy has been questioned by many since his arrival at Old Trafford, though Phil Jones claimed on Saturday that the team were starting to understand the way in which the Dutch coach wants them to play. And the former Barcelona boss feels his players should be praised for handling the pressure and managing a switch in formation to 4-3-3 in recent weeks.

“We have made already big steps in the last six games, because after the defeat against Arsenal [in the FA Cup] it was very difficult of course for my team to stand up and to maintain our confidence in the philosophy,” he told Sky Sports. “I have to say all the credit to the players because they have to do it under pressure, under the expectations of the fans because the fans were expecting today that we would win, and of course after the match you can say we have won but it is not so easy, you can see also the stress of the players in the first 10 minutes.”

As well as netting United’s first goal, Young also claimed two assists in his role as a left-winger as the England international put in another encouraging performance. And Van Gaal was full of praise for the ex-Aston Villa man despite Sergio Aguero’s late consolation being created down his flank.

“Yeah I think Ashley Young was man of the match… I’ve seen it [on television]! So I think that is right because I found that also, he was very good. “He was involved with the first three goals, very important goals, and he did his job as a left winger. When he was left midfielder he let in one goal but OK, I can…how do you say… I can accept it.”

Originally published at 08.08

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