Louis van Gaal hailed the “fantastic” attitude of Manchester United right-back Rafael as he awaited news on the Brazilian’s injury.
The 24-year-old suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone in the first half of the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win at Yeovil on Sunday afternoon, secured thanks to goals from Ander Herrera and substitute Angel di Maria.
But the full-back, making his first start since October, battled on until half-time before joining United’s injury list – a fact not lost on his manager.
The Dutchman said: “Rafael has an injury, a fracture of his bone. So it was fantastic that he had the guts that he could play through but I had to change him.
“He played through the pain because in the last few weeks he hasn’t played much but he now can’t play – he is injured.
“He has a fantastic mentality Rafa, he is unbelievable.
“I don’t know how it happened. I will have to watch the video, I cannot say.”
Luke Shaw was also forced off at the break with an ankle problem but Van Gaal was not blaming his defenders’ injuries on their League One opponents, just the nature of the cup tie.
“It was from a duel and also Luke Shaw’s was,” he said. “It was a very physical game I think and of course the manager and the players make that of this game.
“For them it is one of the most exciting games of the last 10 years I believe.”
Meanwhile, Accrington Stanley have put tickets on sale for a glamorous FA Cup tie against Manchester United – despite the fact that the match will not take place.
Stanley were knocked out by Yeovil, who booked their third-round berth against United.
So now Accrington are selling commemorative tickets for the hypothetical United clash on sale in a bid to raise a bit of much-needed cash.
Some 250 special edition tickets for the tie that never was are available to buy for £20 each.