Juan Mata scored Manchester United’s second goal in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Shrewsbury Town through a brilliantly taken free-kick on Monday night.
The free-kick had a touch of controversy about it as three United players stood in offside positions obstructing the view of Shrewsbury Town’s goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler as Mata struck the ball.
United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that his players learned the trick from FC Midtjylland, their Europa League opponents, in last week’s meeting in Denmark and was delighted that it had worked.
“I was very happy for the players [to get the two first-half goals] because they were so committed to win,” he said.
“We had a lot of luck with the goal from [Chris] Smalling, but the second was fantastic that we could score out of a free-kick – we have learned that from Midtjylland.
“We have seen that Midtjylland was taking the free-kicks this way and before the match we asked the referees in Denmark if they allowed that and they said ‘yeah, we have to allow it.
“I think it is offside, but okay, they are admitting it is not.”
“In my opinion it is in the rules that you cannot disturb the views of the goalkeeper, but then you are having referees that are saying ‘no, it is not like that’. So, we applied it and it was a goal – not bad!”