Louis van Gaal: Man Utd on track in Champions League

Manchester United celebrate the strike of Anthony Martial (far left)
Manchester United celebrate Anthony Martial's fifth goal of the season

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is confident his team can qualify from Champions League Group B despite drawing 1-1 at CSKA Moscow.

United are second in the group after winning only one of their opening three games and host CSKA and PSV Eindhoven before travelling to leaders Wolfsburg.

"We are very strong at home and I hope we can win these games so we are nearly qualified or qualified," he said.

"We are on schedule after the PSV defeat, which was strange for us."

Anthony Martial's second-half header earned a draw for United in freezing conditions after the 19-year-old forward's handball had led to a first-half CSKA penalty.

David de Gea saved the spot-kick from Roman Eremenko, but CSKA's top scorer Seydou Doumbia reacted first to turn in the rebound.

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Van Gaal described Martial's handball as a "present" but refused to blame the teenager, who took his season's tally to five goals after his £36m move from Monaco.

"He is a human being, he reacts and it is a stupid reaction but sometimes things will happen," the Dutch manager said. "It's the first time that it happens and if it's happening always with me it's a pity.

"But he was not affected at half-time so I was very happy with his performance."

Champions League Group B

Van Gaal rues slow start

Martial played most of the game on the left wing, with Wayne Rooney preferred in the striker's role, while Jesse Lingard played on the right as he made his Champions League debut.

Van Gaal said his team lacked tempo in the first half and he brought on Marouane Fellaini to replace Bastian Schweinsteiger at half-time, with Memphis Depay introduced in place of Lingard with 10 minutes left.

Asked whether Martial would have been better suited to a striker's role, Van Gaal replied: "I don't have that idea because it's not the problem of the striker, that we don't have the chances in the first half.

"It was too slow in my opinion, and that's what I said at half-time - that we have to improve in switching the game from side to side.

"We have done that better in the second half, we created more chances, but in the end it is deserved draw."

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