‘FA Cup final crucial for Van Gaal’

25 Apr

Alan Pardew, third from left, played against Manchester United in the 1990 final


Alan Pardew, third from left, played against Manchester United in the 1990 final

This season’s FA Cup is as significant for Louis van Gaal’s future as Manchester United manager as it was for Sir Alex Ferguson in 1990, says Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew.

Palace meet United at Wembley next month in a repeat of the 1990 final. Winning that trophy reportedly helped keep Ferguson in his job 26 years ago.

“I remember Sir Alex’s career hinged on that game and maybe LVG’s career will hinge on this,” said Pardew, who played for Palace in the 1990 final, which United won after a replay.

FA Cup archive: Crystal Palace v Man Utd, 1990 final<!–

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FA Cup archive: Crystal Palace v Man Utd, 1990 final

Ferguson went on to achieve unprecedented success with United, winning 13 Premier League titles and four more FA Cups during a trophy-laden career before retiring in 2013.

This season’s FA Cup represents the last chance for United to win any silverware during an inconsistent campaign in which Van Gaal’s position has come under increasing scrutiny.

United are currently fifth in the table, five points off the Champions League qualification places – albeit with a game in hand – and it has been assumed by many that Van Gaal will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season to be replaced by former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

Following United’s 2-1 semi-final win over Everton on Saturday, Van Gaal said he would leave it up to the club’s board to decide whether he should remain at the club.

“I like the guy [Van Gaal],” said Pardew. “He’s had some terrible, terrible press and I look forward to seeing him in the final.”

Pardew’s side beat Watford 2-1 to book their place in the final, with Connor Wickham’s goal proving the winner after Hornet’s striker Troy Deeney had cancelled out Yannick Bolasie’s opener for the Eagles.

John Pemberton and Peter Beardsley challenge for the ball in the FA Cup semi-final<!–

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FA Cup archive: Crystal Palace v Liverpool, 1990 semi-final

The Palace boss likened Bolasie’s goal – a header at the back-post following Damien Delaney’s flick-on – to his own winner in the 4-3 semi-final win over Liverpool 26 years ago.

“We paid a bit of homage to that side with the flick-on for the corner,” added Pardew. “Steve Coppell can take a bit of credit for that one.

“This is a different team, with a different spirit, but the characteristics are similar to 1990. They are hard-working, diligent, with good defenders and some pace on the attack.

“I just hope the destiny isn’t the same result in the final.”

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