Van Gaal backs Rooney to lead FA Cup charge
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is hoping that the desire of his captain Wayne Rooney to win the FA Cup will drive his side towards victory in this season's competition.
Rooney is yet to win the FA Cup and Van Gaal suggests his eagerness to add that medal to his collection will be vital to his side's ambitions to reach this season's Cup Final at Wembley.
"He wants to win a title, he has not won the FA Cup and that is something that is missing," confirms Van Gaal.
"It was also an emotional thing and you have seen how he was motivated in the last minute of the game against Newcastle.
"You saw him running and pressing for a lost ball (which led to the error that inspired United's late winner) and that was fantastic.
"Every human being has his own identity and character and this is Wayne's character. He has also picked up red cards because of that character, but against Newcastle it was fantastic."
Rooney has stated his eagerness to win the FA Cup burns brightly, as he looks to lift his first trophy as United skipper.
"It is a trophy that, growing up as a youngster, I used to love watching," says Rooney.
"I was fortunate enough to see Everton lift the FA Cup in 1995 when I was nine years old. It is something which I would love to do and hopefully it can be this year.”
Van Gaal believes the character of his team is shining through as they close in on a top four finish and target FA Cup success, with their self belief set to be tested in the final weeks of the campaign.
"We've shown a lot of times we have been coming back in the last minute, even when we are behind," added Van Gaal.
"At Newcastle we scored out of nothing because the ball was already lost, but because of Wayne's spirit he made it very difficult for his opponent.
"We've shown a fantastic fight and I'm very proud of our players."