Van Gaal to ring changes for 'death or gladioli' showdown
Wilson and Januzaj in side for trip to struggling Yeovil Town
Louis van Gaal has billed Manchester United's FA Cup tie against League One strugglers Yeovil Town as a 'death or the gladioli' game after admitting to suffering three of his worst experiences as a manager in cup humiliations against lower league minnows.
United, who have not won the Cup since their 11th success in 2004, travel to Yeovil with Van Gaal ready to make wholesale changes to his team including starts for the likes of James Wilson and Adnan Januzaj.
The Dutchman has already endured one cup shock since taking charge at Old Trafford, with MK Dons inflicting a 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat on United earlier this season. And after also being on the wrong end of cup upsets with Ajax and Barcelona, Van Gaal admits that he knows all about the nature of tomorrow's trip to Somerset.
"In the Netherlands we have a saying, 'Death or the Gladioli', which means all or nothing," Van Gaal said.
"So we will go into the match fully prepared. It is a Gladioli game. You are dead or you receive the gladiolus flower and in cup matches it's always like that. We know from our early exit in the Capital One Cup that league places mean nothing in the cups, but I know that also from Ajax and Barcelona, so it's not only like that in England."
Van Gaal says that he has erased from his memory arguably the worst defeat of his career - a 3-2 defeat with Barcelona against third division Novelda in the 2002-03 Copa del Rey - such was the embarrassment of losing to such a lowly opponent with the Spanish giants.
"It's always a shock when you play against a lower team because you can assume that you have to win, but it's not like that in football," Van Gaal said.
"I have lost with Ajax against a lower team, Cambuur [in 1996], but I have lost with Barcelona against a third division team.
"That one is wiped out of my mind, but we lost, so the criticism in Spain was very high and also in the Netherlands."
With United out of the Capital One Cup and not competing in Europe this season, the FA Cup appears to offer Van Gaal his only hope of a trophy in his first campaign as Chelsea and Manchester City remain nine points ahead in the Premier League.
Despite winning five FA Cups in 14 years under Alex Ferguson to become the most successful club in the history of the competition, United's recent failure to win the competition is now their longest dry run since the 1960s.
Of the current squad, only Darren Fletcher has a winner's medal and Van Gaal admits that ending the winless streak has become a priority at Old Trafford.
"Yes, I think so," Van Gaal said. "It is the shortest way to success, so you are right, we are very interested in the FA Cup and I think my players are also.
"In the Netherlands, we have known for many years that the FA Cup is one of the most important competitions in football.
The FA Cup was shown on the television over there at a time when it was not common to show matches from other countries."
United defender Luke Shaw is ready to start against Yeovil after saying he needs more football to return to full fitness following a recent ankle injury lay-off.
"I need game time now," Shaw said. "I had 60 minutes at Stoke, which was pre-planned, and if I had been able to go on longer then I would have done.
"But I think the main thing for me now is to get a run of games together. Now I am back fit I want to be a part of the winning run," he added.
United have announced a freeze on season-ticket prices for the fourth year in a row despite the financial blow of missing out on the Champions League.
The rise in commercial income from sponsors has allowed the club to freeze prices once more.
United said in a statement: "The club is delighted to announce that season ticket prices have been frozen for the 2015-16 season.
"This represents the fourth consecutive season, and the fifth time in six years, that prices have been held."
United's season-ticket prices range from £532 to £950 and the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward wrote to all current season-ticket holders yesterday to inform them of the freeze. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Yeovil Town v Manchester United, live, BT Sport 1, 3.30pm tomorrow