Tuesday 31 May 2016

January: Results pick up but problems remain

Van Gaal has overseen an eight-game winless run, the worst such sequence since Sir Alex's winter of discontent in 1989 but remains in his job as 2015 makes way for 2016 and the start of a new dawn for United.

Well, sort of..

The Reds register their first win since mid November as bogey side Swansea are beaten at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Martial and Rooney's brilliantly instinctive finish.

The FA Cup journey begins with the visit of League One Sheffield, United are poor and toil but eventually triumph through a late, late Rooney strike from the spot to seal a fourth-round place.

The trip to Tyneside brings flair, entertainment and thrilling contest, but, frustratingly not a win as United are pegged back despite the brilliance of the rejuvenated Rooney.

The skipper puts United ahead early-again from the spot and Lingard's wonderful counter-attacking goal doubles the lead but the hosts storm back to level through Wijnaldum and Mitrovic.

Rooney's thunderbolt puts the visitors ahead again but Paul Dummett's injury-time goal rescues a point for the Magpies after Fellaini and Lingard miss gilt-edged chances to wrap up the game.

West Ham's win leaves United in sixth- leapfrogged by West Ham ahead of the trip to fierce rivals Liverpool on the 17th.

Van Gaal's side are second best and are fortunate to win but Rooney's smash and grab winner- which comes after a series of top stops from De Gea- earns United a fourth consecutive win over the Merseyside men, now led by charismatic German Jurgen Klopp.

That 1-0 victory brings euphoric delight but the mood quickly turns sour again as a lacklustre United- who muster only one shot on target- go down 1-0 to Saints at home for the second successive season and are booed off again by a fed up and frustrated fanbase.

The match is followed-again- by rumours of Van Gaal's sacking but he survives once more and the month ends on a brighter note with victory at Championship Derby in the FA Cup.

United send out a youthful-looking side but goals from the experienced trio of in-form Rooney, Daley Blind and Juan Mata send the Reds into the fifth round in a tie notable for the outstanding travelling support. 

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