Thursday 26 April 2018

Wayne Rooney's FA Cup semi-final hopes depend on Palace performance

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal (left) says Wayne Rooney can secure an FA Cup semi-final place
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal (left) says Wayne Rooney can secure an FA Cup semi-final place

Wayne Rooney's hopes of facing former club Everton in Manchester United's FA Cup semi-final on Saturday could depend on a strong midweek showing against Crystal Palace.

England and United captain Rooney played for 67 minutes against Aston Villa last Saturday in his first start since recovering from a knee injury.

The 30-year-old, who has never won the FA Cup and was not selected for the 2009 semi-final against the Toffees, looks to have done enough to continue for the Barclays Premier League visit of Palace to Old Trafford.

Beyond that, however, Wembley places are still to be played for.

Manager Louis van Gaal said: "It's dependent (on) how he plays, like every player. We have to see how he is playing.

"I think he played very well in the first half (against Villa), I have said that already. In the second half he was tiring but he had already got 60 minutes in his legs.

"He has trained today and he has recovered so we will have to see how he is feeling in the second half against Crystal Palace and still he has to play good."

United have won their last two games since a 3-0 defeat by title-chasing Tottenham.

Second-placed Spurs have enjoyed an outstanding season and are 12 points above United - having played a game more - but Van Gaal insists there is not a lot between the two sides.

He said: "We have beaten Tottenham 1-0 (earlier in the season) and until the 70th minute I think we were the better team but then (there was) a mis-communication.

"So, I don't think there is a lot of distance between Tottenham and Manchester United, but the distance is in points.

"They have won more, they are scoring more and that's because they have more creative players."

Van Gaal believes a failure to sign another creative player last summer has badly affected his side's season.

"It's always the case," he said. "I have said in advance what we need and in my opinion I don't have a senior creative player. Everybody knows that."

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