IBTimes UK

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted star goalkeeper David de Gea's heroics between the post helped the Red Devils to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup after defeating West Ham United 2-1 on Wednesday.

The 20-time English champions were forced to play the replay after the first match ended in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. United were given a lead by Marcus Rashford's brilliant goal before Marouane Fellaini doubled the lead in the second half.

West Ham pulled one back after James Tomkins was successful to beat De Gea in the final quarter of the match. However, that was not sufficient for the Hammers as several saves from the Spaniard helped United to avoid playing the extra time and also helped them seal a berth at Wembley for the semi-final.

"We kept him and that is because he is one of the best you can imagine. I am very happy with him," Van Gaal explained, as quoted by United's official website.

"When you see the match, we controlled the game for 85 minutes and then suddenly they scored the goal through the kick of Payet, the head of Carroll and of Tomkins – it was also quality. At that time it changed the match but David De Gea saved us. It was a fantastic night."

The Dutchman will take his side to Wembley as they face Everton in the last four of the FA Cup. Van Gaal expressed his delight after reaching the semi-final and suggested that it is important for the club and fans to win the competition.

"It [Upton Park] is a difficult place to come – they haven't lost here since August; it was difficult because they have beaten all the top teams here," the former Barcelona coach said.

"After the [Europa League] defeat at Liverpool, the next game was against West Ham in the FA Cup; we were 1-0 down and fought until the end for 1-1. The spirit in the team is very good, you cannot deny that. It was a fantastic result and I'm happy I shall go to Wembley as a manager."

"It is not important for me [winning the FA Cup]; it is important for the club, for the players and for the team. I said I wanted a title and I am very happy but it is very important for the club."

IBTimes UK