Van Gaal’s press conference: Cambridge United (A) – Full transcription

by Sam Peoples

What a great opportunity for Manchester United to qualify for the next round in a competition that they have not won for 11 years. How important and tough a task will it be against Cambridge United?

LVG: Yes, it is always tough to play against opponents that you perceive to be weaker than you mentally. For example, on Wednesday, PSV Eindhoven, the team on top of the table in the Dutch league lost to a team that is third in the second division.

It shall happen in the FA Cup also, there are surprises always and I hope that we shall not be the surprise (defeat). When you see analyse Cambridge’s style of play, they play very direct with long balls, they have 5 or 6 players above 1 metre 90, so it will be difficult for us to defend. That’s why we have to prepare very well. It shall not so easy to beat Cambridge United.

With Cambridge United attacking the game in a different way to the Premier league teams, will there be a change in your system or possibly team selection and using players such as Valdes?

LVG: I have read in the media that he (Valdes) shall play. It is a little bit strange, because I decided my line-up yesterday, not on Wednesday. It’s strange and I cannot answer these questions because then I will be giving away my line up to you (media) and I don’t want to.

What about Darren Fletcher? There is a lot of speculation that he will be leaving. Can you give us an update on his position?

LVG: He is a player of Manchester United. That’s the update. He is the only player in my selection to have won the FA Cup. He is also one of the three captains (Rooney and Carrick, the other two). That’s the update I can give at the moment.

Can you tell us about any possible departures?

LVG: No player. I don’t think anyone shall be leaving. However, it’s the transfer month, so you never know.

You won the cup in Spain, Holland and Germany. Is the English FA Cup different?

LVG: It’s different, in terms of atmosphere. I think, here the FA Cup is very important for the fans, the people and also the players. That is the difference because, for instance, in Germany it is fantastic if you win the cup but not like here.

Also, the attendance here is much higher than in Germany or Spain. Of course, if you have a cup-tie like Barcelona v Atlético, it will be sold-out but on the whole, there is not that many sold out matches.

What’s it like going to these smaller stadiums?

LVG: For me it is not a change or an exception. We will prepare for this match the same way we prepare for Premier league and friendly games. We have a process and it is very good that we have a set procedure. The players have adapted to it (the procedure) over the six months.

They (players) have to play in our philosophy against a team who play similarly to Yeovil and Queens Park Rangers. As I mentioned, mentally, we might consider Cambridge United to be an inferior opponent – however, it is not like that.  They are another opponent, with different players and a different style. We have to win or we will get knocked out.

Why do you think the FA Cup is so important?

LVG: I cannot answer that question, you can answer that better than me because it is your culture. For instance, in the Netherlands the cup is not so important, the reputation has been growing recently, however. Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV are the three biggest teams in the Netherlands and all three out of them are out of the cup, I think that is remarkable.

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