Louis van Gaal claimed he would toast FA Cup victory against Derby County with a bottle of wine from Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward after banishing concerns over his future with a convincing win at the iPro Stadium.
United will take their place in Sunday’s fifth round draw after goals from Wayne Rooney, Daley Blind and Juan Mata secured a 3-1 victory against Paul Clement’s Championship team.
But with Van Gaal coming under increasing pressure from supporters following a run of poor performances and results, the Dutchman insisted he would enjoy the ‘expensive’ bottle of wine given to him by Woodward following the Premier League win at Liverpool two weeks ago.
“How will I celebrate this victory? I come back and my wife is at home from the Netherlands,” Van Gaal said. “The wine will be open.
“It is a nice bottle of expensive wine from Ed Woodward, which I always get after beating a team out of the top six.”
Woodward’s support for Van Gaal in recent weeks has ensured that the manager has survived the calls from supporters for him to be sacked.
And having posted an impressive performance to defeat Derby, Van Gaal suggested that the players had given evidence of the freedom he gives them to express themselves going forward.
“I am very happy with the performance,” Van Gaal said. “It was a good result, but at this moment, the performance is important.
“The players always have freedom from me. It is the same philosophy, the same training sessions and I always give my players freedom.
“We needed to finish the chances after creating the chances. The team performance, after the lack of confidence from the Southanpton game last Saturday, showed that the confidence is back.
“I have seen the team with a lot of confidence and cohesion. They want to fight for each other and, for a manager,that is pleasing to see.”
Derby manager Paul Clement insisted United’s performance merited their victory and belied their disappointing form in recent weeks.
“I don’t think we were unlucky,” Clement said. “United deserved to win the game.
“For a team supposedly in disarray and lacking confidence, they played well, controlled the game and were clinical in the attacking third.
“It wasn’t all one-way traffic, there were lots of positives for in the second-half, but we couldn’t take it into the last 15 minutes because they scored goals at crucial moments.
“But United did a very good job against us defensively too.”