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Van Gaal singles out Januzaj, hails United´s forwards

Adnan Januzaj was singled out for praise by Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, as the Dutchman hailed his team’s attacking display in their win against Barcelona.

Van Gaal claimed his main highlight of the 3-1 victory was that his team “had the same amount of chances as Barcelona”, with both sides finishing the International Champions Cup game with six shots on target.

Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Januzaj scored for United in California as they maintained their perfect record on their United States tour, and Van Gaal was impressed with how the latter led the line in the final half-hour on Saturday.

Van Gaal replaced his front four of Rooney, Ashley Young, Memphis Depay and Juan Mata in the 63rd minute with Januzaj, 20, playing as the centre forward in United’s 4-2-3-1 formation, supported by Lingard, James Wilson and Andreas Pereira.

“I think Barcelona could not cope with the threat of Depay and Rooney, but I have to say that Adnan Januzaj was also a big threat for them in the 30 minutes that he played as a striker,” Van Gaal said.

“That is good to see.”

Rooney opened the scoring with a header from Young’s eighth-minute corner, while Lingard doubled United’s advantage just after coming on with a tap-in from Tyler Blackett’s cut-back.

Rafinha converted a stunning volley for Barca in the 90th minute but Januzaj completed United’s win a minute later, expertly turning inside Marc Bartra after collecting Lingard’s long ball and then finishing into the bottom corner.

“I think that Adnan Januzaj was very good because he always gives an option for his midfielders and defenders,” Van Gaal said.

“He scored a wonderful goal and I think that is always important. He had to fight with two defenders and he did well. But it was more easy for him against the defence without [Barcelona centre-back Gerard] Pique.”

After breaking into United’s first team in 2013-14 with 27 Premier League appearances and four goals, Januzaj had fewer opportunities last term, playing 18 league games and failing to score.

Sun 26 Jul, 2015
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