Louis van Gaal wants to mark his debut season at Manchester United by winning the FA Cup leading them back into the UEFA Champions League.
The much-celebrated Dutch coach was appointed as David Moyes’ successor at Old Trafford in the summer, with the immediate target of returning to the top-four in the Premier League after last term’s bitterly disappointing seventh-place finish. Although the Reds have failed to impress in recent weeks, they remain on course to reach this achievement with 10 matches remaining.
And with an FA Cup quarter-final date with Arsenal scheduled for Monday night, there is every chance United could book a Wembley date for next month. This is a trophy no other club have won more times although it has been a decade since it last resided in the red half of Manchester, so van Gaal has set his sights on adding this piece of silverware to his list of objectives for the season.
“I want to get always the goals that we have set, and the goals we have set is the top four, and a trophy would be fantastic,” he said. “It’s fantastic for the players and the manager but our role in our first year together is to win a place in the Champions League. To finish in the first four is a fantastic result and for us at Manchester United. If you win the FA Cup you have won a title.”
Robin van Persie will be absent for the visit of his former club, whilst Jonny Evans will serve the first of his six-match suspension for spitting at Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse. The Northern Ireland international denied the charge, but the Football Association revealed their decision on Saturday morning when they also announced the Magpies striker had been banned for seven games.