FA Cup: Van Gaal plots tilt at FA Cup as upstarts stifled

Ross McLean
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Juan Mata (right) scored his sixth goal of the season in United’s win

MANCHESTER United manager Louis van Gaal insists ending the club’s 11-year wait to lift the FA Cup is his priority this season after surviving an early scare to brush past League Two side Cambridge United last night.

Goals from Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and substitute James Wilson sealed United’s progress and set up a fifth round tie away at Preston North End, who came from behind to beat League Cup semi-finalists Sheffield United 3-1 at Bramall Lane.

“Every club in the FA Cup wants to win, we also,” said Van Gaal. “We want to win a title this year. The biggest chance is the FA Cup but we still have to win four games to do that.”

Despite sitting 79 places below their illustrious hosts, Cambridge missed a glorious chance in the opening seconds when striker Tom Elliott seized upon Daley Blind’s errant touch to storm clear only for his curling effort to clip the outside of the post.

United, whose starting XI cost £231m more than their opponents’, took the lead after 25 minutes, Mata applying a close-range finish for his sixth goal of the season following a knockdown from the towering Marouane Fellaini.

Rojo headed home a clever centre from Robin van Persie as United doubled their lead shortly after the half hour mark, while teenager Wilson settled matters inside the final 20 minutes by drilling across Cambridge keeper Chris Dunn.