Featuring at left back, Darmian forced Damien Delaney’s own goal early on. The Italian then added a second for Man United on 55 minutes after launching a half-volley past Julian Speroni.
The 26-year-old was a commanding influence all game and he will certainly be in the manager’s thoughts ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Speaking after the game, van Gaal expressed his delight at seeing Darmian transfer his goalscoring form from Monday’s training session into the game against Palace.
“I was very happy for Matteo [Darmian],” van Gaal told MUTV.
“Two times he was involved in the goals and I have seen it already in the training session. He was the top scorer of the day on Monday and he did it again in the match. He shot with his left and right foot, and now he shot for his goal with his left foot.”
There is something satisfying about a perfectly hit half volley that crashes in off the post; and yet it is also slightly unsettling that, amongst all the attacking talent on show for United, it was the full-back who ultimately carved out the two goals on the night.
Nevertheless, in a season littered with confidence and injury issues (an affliction you could admittedly extend to most of the current United squad), this was a surge towards brighter things for the Italian, who, against an albeit depleted Palace side, displayed the same prowess that saw him make such a strong start to his United career.