Rafael is 'fantastic' and 'unbelievable' according to Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Manager was impressed after right-back battled on against Yeovil despite facial injury

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The Independent Online

Louis van Gaal hailed the "fantastic" attitude of Manchester United right-back Rafael as he awaits news on the Brazilian's injury.

The 24-year-old suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone in the first half of the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win at Yeovil on Sunday afternoon, secured thanks to goals from Ander Herrera and substitute Angel Di Maria.

But the full-back, making his first start since October, battled on until half-time before joining United's injury list - a fact not lost on his manager.

The Dutchman explained: "Rafael has an injury, a fracture of his bone. So it was fantastic that he had the guts that he could play through but I had to change him.

"He played through the pain because in the last few weeks he hasn't played much but he now can play he is injured.

"He has a fantastic mentality Rafa, he is unbelievable.

"I don't know how it happened. I will have to watch the video, I cannot say."

Luke Shaw was also forced off at the break with an ankle problem but Van Gaal was not blaming his defenders' injuries on their League One opponents, just the nature of the cup tie.

"It was from a duel and also Luke Shaw's was," he said. "It was a very physical game I think and of course the manager and the players make that of this game.

"For them it is one of the most exciting games of the last 10 years I believe."

Having been frustrated by the resolute Glovers it took something special to break the deadlock and that moment of magic arrived from Herrera, who lashed home a stunning right-footed effort in the 64th minute.

"It is class and it is not the first goal he has scored from outside the box," Van Gaal added.

"It is a fantastic goal. There was also a little bit of luck I think but you also need that. I was very happy with him that he scored the goal."

Yeovil captain Joe Edwards, who saw a goal-bound header cleared off the line by Di Maria at 1-1, felt the Glovers - rock-bottom of the third tier - gave a good account of themselves.

"Before the game the gaffer said to have no regrets and I don't think we have any, we gave it everything we had," he said.

"We did have chances, maybe the best ones up to 60 minutes. Their quality shone through at the end."

Manchester United fan Edwards also had word of encouragement for striker Kieffer Moore.

Recalled to the side after injury, the rangy striker fluffed his lines with a great chance at the near post after half-time.

The former Bristol City midfielder said: "He has been brilliant for us. He is a great lad and he is still young.

"It may be hard for him to get over but we need to get around him, encourage him and give him the confidence to go again."

PA

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