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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Louis van Gaal: Man United win over Liverpool a step in the right direction

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal claimed his 1-0 win over Liverpool courtesy of Wayne Rooney's 78th-minute goal was a step in the right direction.

While Rooney was the match-winner with the visitors' only shot on target, David De Gea starred with a string of saves and was the far busier of the two goalkeepers.

However, Rooney's record breaking 176th Premier League goal was enough to hand United their third win from four games in 2016.

Manchester UnitedManchester United
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"When you beat Liverpool, it is good for the fans and for the table as our competitors also lose points, it is a big step in a good direction and I am very happy," Van Gaal told the BBC.

"In the first-half we didn't keep the ball and we have survived the first-half. In the second-half we played much better and kept the ball better and created chances and Wayne Rooney makes the fantastic goal again.

"We have played against Newcastle and given away two leads and now we have done the things we have trained and discussed so that is most precious aspect of the game today. We won and we have won a lot of games in 2016 now and have not lost yet."

The Dutch coach told reporters after the game: "We have a lot of matches still to go. We started 2016 very good with a lot of wins and I think this game will give a big boost to the players and the fans, and everyone in the environment of Manchester United.

"We have to continue, which is not so easy. We have seen that today but we can do it because we show every week we can do it."

Asked whether it was his best day of the season, Van Gaal said: "No, I don't think so. You have to see it always in perspective. It is a fantastic win for the fans, for me and the players and it will give us a boost, and maybe in that perspective you are right.

"There are matches we have played much better than today, and in that perspective I can't say it is a good day because Liverpool were the better team in the first half and normally we are dominating games.

"I have to admit we survived the first half because Liverpool were more aggressive, we could not create anything. They have created in the first half three chances and that was surviving, but to beat Liverpool is always important.

"When I see this game then I think we can still improve but it was still good enough to win at Liverpool away."

The fact United were able to leave Anfield with three points was largely down to De Gea, who was by far the busier goalkeeper.

Key saves from David De Gea allowed Manchester United to emerge with a 1-0 win at Anfield.
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea was awarded man of the match for an impressive display at Liverpool.

But although the Spain international was named man of the match, Van Gaal saw nothing but De Gea's usual high standards.

"He is always reaching a very high level so I am very happy, but I cannot say that today he has done a lot," he added. "He has stopped the balls that he had to stop.

"Maybe the one with one hand [from Emre Can in the second half], maybe but I think he has to save it. I think a goalkeeper has to do it.

"I demand it and I demand it also of the players. That is why he is playing for Manchester United."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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