Wayne Rooney can drive Man United to FA Cup glory, says Van Gaal.


Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal believes Wayne Rooney's desire to drive his team forward can help them oust Arsenal in the FA Cup.

The two sides meet at Old Trafford on Monday with a place in the semi-finals at Wembley at stake.

The FA Cup is the only domestic honour that Rooney is yet to win, losing in the final to Arsenal in 2005 and Chelsea in 2007. United have not reached the final since Didier Drogba's goal won the first final back at the revamped Wembley Stadium, losing in the semis to Everton in 2009 and Manchester City in 2011.

United and Arsenal jointly hold the record for the most Cup final wins with 11 -- Arsenal drew level with their dramatic win over Hull City last season -- and Van Gaal has backed captain Rooney to inspire the current United side to end their drought in the competition, which goes back to 2004.

"I don't know how Rooney will motivate the dressing room but I think he shall do that because he is very motivated as a captain and a player," Van Gaal said. "He wants to win a title, he has not won the FA Cup and that is something that is missing.

"My first championship with Ajax was very important for me. 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 [leading to their 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.

"We've shown a lot of times we have been coming back in the last minute, even when we are behind. 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."

Rooney spoke of his desire to win the FA Cup, and described how it is a trophy he has always dreamed of lifting.

"It's the start of a big two or three weeks for us, but we've done okay in the big games this year, although we could do better," Rooney said. "It's exciting for us. These big games here, you want to be part of them. The FA Cup quarterfinal is massive for us.

"We haven't been to a cup final for a few years and we want to try and win the competition, so I'm looking forward to that.

"The FA Cup is a massive trophy. It's a trophy I've grown up as a youngster watching. I was fortunate enough to see Everton win the FA Cup in 1995. I was nine years old.

"It's something I'd love to do and hopefully it'll be this year."

Van Gaal has come in for criticism over his tactics and team selection in his first season at Old Trafford, but he knows that silverware will be the true measure of his success at the club. And he said that he agrees with Jose Mourinho's comment that he is "fed on trophies" after Chelsea won the Capital One Cup.

"You can say you play for your profession, but that's not enough you want to win something," Van Gaal explained. "The players want to win something, as well as the manager and the fans. If you can win a title like the FA Cup in England, it's very important.

"When you fight for something and you get it, you are pleased, and that's why Jose Mourinho is saying that. When you compare coaches with one another, titles are very important.

"When a player wins they have already the experience of winning a final, so there are a lot of positive things."

Source: ESPN FC


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