English Premiership

Man United edge past Palace

2014-11-08 19:13
Juan Mata (AFP)

Manchester - Juan Mata's sweet strike earned Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday but manager Louis van Gaal was left with plenty to ponder after another unconvincing display.

Van Gaal's fourth Premier League win lifted his team to sixth in the table but they struggled to break down a stubborn Palace defence despite dominating possession at Old Trafford.

Injuries and suspensions forced Van Gaal to field a makeshift central defence of Paddy McNair and Daley Blind and they enjoyed a relatively quiet afternoon against a toothless Palace attack.

"It was a fantastic goal but it was important also," Van Gaal told the BBC.

"It is always difficult to attack against a defending team, who comes here to defend and not attack. You have two rows of four and we created a lot of possibilities.

"I am pleased because we have three points and there is an international break so it was important we closed with a victory."

Mata came on as a second-half substitute for Adnan Januzaj and made an immediate impact before hitting the post late in the game.

"Juan Mata has played a lot of matches," Van Gaal said.

"I have given him the chance, I give other players the chance and at the end we shall see who plays more than the other. It is always like that in football."

United were without five first-choice defenders with Chris Smalling suspended and Phil Jones, Rafael, Jonny Evans and Marcos Rojo injured.

Versatile Dutchman Blind proved a competent partner for the 19-year-old McNair and Michael Carrick started in midfield alongside Marouane Fellaini following his recovery from injury.

"McNair and Blind didn't have to defend too much because we always had the ball," Van Gaal said.

"They only had to defend the long balls but that is difficult because (Marouane) Chamakh and (Fraizer) Campbell are strong headers of the ball."

It was another subdued performance from striker Robin van Persie, captain Wayne Rooney struggled to make an impact and record signing Angel di Maria was withdrawn in favour of young forward James Wilson 20 minutes from time.

Van Gaal will hope to get some defenders back for the trip to Arsenal on November 22 but, after saying it might take three years to restore United to former glories, he has plenty to think about during the two-week international break.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.