Van Gaal hails 'focused' Rashford after FA Cup win
MANCHESTER United manager Louis van Gaal hailed Marcus Rashford's startling self-awareness after the 18-year-old striker's memorable goal inspired his side to FA Cup victory at West Ham United.
Rashford broke the deadlock in the 54th minute of Wednesday's quarter-final replay, shimmying inside James Tomkins and arcing an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner.
Marouane Fellaini added a second and, although Tomkins replied late on, visiting goalkeeper David de Gea brilliantly held West Ham at bay to send United into the last four for the first time since 2011.
Hailing Rashford, who has now scored six times in 11 games, van Gaal said: "He's very focused on his work and that I admire when you are so young."
After months of intense speculation about his position, van Gaal will lead his side out to face Everton at Wembley later this month knowing that he is two victories from a first trophy as United manager.
The Dutchman came in for a fresh wave of criticism after Sunday's 3-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur but he said that his record meant that he was worthy of the patience afforded him by the United hierarchy.
West Ham are vying with United and Manchester City for a Champions League place and manager Slaven Bilic urged his players to shake the disappointment out of their systems as quickly as possible.
"We have seven big games and we are still big-time in the competition for Europe and we want to finish as high as possible.
"Make no mistake, we're going to do it."