Louis van Gaal celebrated Manchester United’s “unbelievable spirit” after Anthony Martial’s goal in added time booked a place in The Emirates FA Cup Final.
The Dutchman, who has now won two out of two games in charge at Wembley after leading Barcelona to victory over Arsenal in 1999, said United deserved their victory – and admitted it was a close-run thing.
Everton 1-2 Man Utd
The Emirates FA Cup
Saturday 23 April 2016
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on BBC
Winners receive £900,000 from prize fund
He said: "It was very good – we won. Everton had a lot of chances and it could have been 7-6 to Manchester United
"In the first half we had the better chances and we scored.
"Then De Gea stopped a penalty – I don’t argue it was a penalty – but after that we scored an own goal.
"But then you saw a mental spirit which was unbelievable. Anthony scored a fantastic goal and we are lucky that we scored in the last minute – but we deserved to win."
Van Gaal was full of praise for his young forward Martial, although he believes he will continue to progress as a wide player rather than follow in the footsteps of United poachers like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Denis Law and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Tunnelcam: Everton 1-2 Manchester United
"I don’t think he is a striker. He is more of a wing player. He is a different striker to Van Nistelrooy or other strikers," he said.
"I think Martial can do much better because see a lot of things he can prove, and he will improve because by training and playing more games.
"When you are older you know all the things will happen and then you have experience and you can do much better."
Van Gaal allowed himself a wry smile when asked about David de Gea’s penalty save, adding: "[On Friday] we exercised our penalties. 20 were taken. Sergio Romero stopped one and David zero, but today David stopped the important one."
“The feelings that we share are as cruel as football can be”
Roberto Martinez Everton manager
Everton boss Roberto Martinez struggled to express his frustration after watching his side draw level late in the second, spurn a penalty, then concede when extra-time looked a certainty.
"The feelings that we share are as cruel as football can be," he said.
"We took 45 minutes to get into our rhythm but still created the best chances in the first half.
"In the second half we built an incredible tempo, we had the penalty, and then scored a goal.
"But that’s where the story became heart-breaking. We conceded the goal and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. It was a major, major disappointment."