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English Premier League: Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland

Coach van Gaal reflects after the game:

“We started the match poorly. I think we were nervous, which is understandable after the defeat to Swansea. After the first quarter of the match, we started to create more chances and we played much better in the second half. We had much more composure on the ball, the tempo was better and we stretched the play from one wing to another. I was pleased with the performance, especially in the second half, we scored twice but could have got more.

Second-half control: “Yes, it was comfortable, because they had 10 men and we didn’t give them any chances in the second half. We played with control, it’s a step in the process to finish a game off when you are winning. Perhaps [Marouane] Fellaini could have scored, and there was also [Antonio] Valencia’s shot, so we could have scored more goals. Goal difference can be very important at the end of the season in this rat race for the top four.”

On Wayne Rooney: “He said to me, and he was right, that he usually hits penalties high into the goal. Today, he shot along the ground because of their tall goalkeeper and I was very happy that was the case.”

Angel Di Maria’s adaptation: “We have to give Angel more time to adapt to the Premier League; it’s not so easy with the high tempo. I want to give him time, it’s also not easy to change a player of his quality, but I have to make these decisions.”

On current injuries: “Luke Shaw [had a tight hamstring] and [Phil] Jones was ill. I cannot put those players in my line-up. Victor Valdes also has a problem and wasn’t on the bench. I had to make three changes during our final day of preparation.”

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