Cape Town - Newcastle were unfortunate not to get an early penalty when Chris
Smalling brought down Emmanuel Riviere and as the game looked to be heading for
a goalless draw until Newcastle keeper Tim Krul booted a clearance straight to
Ashley Young who scored in the 89th minute.
Louis van Gaal's post-match comments will be enough to bewilder even the most biased Manchester United fans, who saw their side play at a snail's pace for the duration of the fixture.
Radamel Falcao was an unused subsitute while Angel Di Maria was withdrawn after an ineffective 58 minutes on the pitch.
Van Gaal said after the match that the lucky 1-0 win was "maybe our best match of the season" - something that is hard to comprehend when United failed to penetrate the Newcastle defence effectively despite having the lion's share of possession on the evening.
"I think we have dominated for 90 minutes, maybe our best
match of the season, especially in an away match we deserved the victory,"
Van Gaal, whose side are coming under pressure in the battel for a top-four
"We didn't reward ourselves in the first half. It was a
narrow escape because our rivals have won also so it's a rat race.
"We have created a lot of chances and could have scored much
earlier. They also made two big chances and I think David de Gea rescued us at
United stayed fourth in the table and remained on course for a
Champions league place despite another unconvincing performance and they were
indebted to Wayne Rooney's persistence for pressurising Krul into the mistake
which led their goal.
"It was a crazy run from Wayne Rooney, a lost ball, that
shows the fighting spirit in this team," Van Gaal said.
"We want to win. All my changes were to win, not to hold the