Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has underlined his determination not to misjudge the importance of the FA Cup in the way that he did the League Cup, by declaring a full month before the Third Round that he wants to put right the fact that Wayne Rooney has never lifted it.
Van Gaal fielded a weakened side at MK Dons in the League Cup and United’s early exit from the tournament has seen their fixture list so minimal that tonight’s Premier League game against Stoke City is the first under lights at Old Trafford since the start of May.
But as his side seek their fourth win on the trot, Van Gaal has made it clear that the FA Cup – which United have not lifted for ten years - will be of huge significance.
“The league is our priority of course,” Van Gaal said in his programme notes for the game against Stoke.
“But the draw for the third Round of the FA Cup will be made after this coming weekend’s matches. I know what the FA Cup means to this club, our players and our fans: its place in the history of Manchester United is well known.
So it is hard to believe that players such as Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Jonny Evans have never own this cup. It is a medal I know they are all desperate to get their hands on.
“Without Champions League football this season and after the disappointment of being knocked out of the League Cup so early, the FA Cup will be a welcome addition to our current Premier League schedule. This is a very important competition and probably the most famous domestic cup in the world.”
Both Rooney and Angel di Maria are missing from the United line-up against Mark Hughes’ Stoke side, after failing to recover form an injury picked up against Hull City.
With Angel di Maria also out of the side as expected, James Wilson starts his first league game tonight, with Robin van Persie. Marcos Rojo returns after a month out, having dislocated his shoulder in the Manchester derby.
- More about:
- Manchester United