Louis van Gaal has reflected on Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace last Saturday, saying it was difficult because the Eagles were very aggressive.
The Man United boss has come under scrutiny recently following a spell of five hours without a goal from his United side, as well as having three consecutive 0-0 draws which last happened in 2005.
Other issues have been raised such as his refusal to drop captain Wayne Rooney despite poor performances, and the quality of performances and excitement in them, not just results.
Discussing the Palace game, van Gaal told the club’s official website: “Palace showed a lot of aggression. They won every ball in the first quarter of the first half – the second and third ball was always for Crystal Palace, so they built up a lot of pressure on us.”
Continuing with his thoughts on the performances, van Gaal added: “After 15 minutes, we came into the match and created a few chances. In the second half, we could not develop our positional game and could not keep the ball, so we could not create too many chances. Our defensive organisation was good – we didn’t give too much away.
“I said that after the match against Middlesbrough when we created a lot of chances. You have to finish the chances. In the last minute of the first half, Ander Herrera could have finished it but he didn’t. I asked him and he didn’t know why, so that is a pity. But I can’t complain about the result because I don’t think we were the better team today.”
United now face CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night in the fourth group stage game of the UEFA Champions League, the midweek games means United cannot work on anything new during training, and instead are just focused on recovering in time for the game against CSKA.
He said: “I cannot do anything anymore because we cannot train: we can only recover and recover.
“We have to score in the next match and then everybody will be happy again, and especially against CSKA Moscow it is very important to score.”
United have got five points from their last three league games and kept three clean sheets. The points tally is a decent amount given the opposition of Everton, Crystal Palace and Manchester City. However, van Gaal knows United must be winning every game if they are to challenge Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League title.
To finish, van Gaal said this about the Palace game: “I am not happy [with the 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace] because if you want to be the champions, you have to win these kinds of matches. Arsenal beat Swansea, for example. We lost against Swansea, even though we were the better team, but they have beaten them 3-0.”
Van Gaal has come under scrutiny but the majority of the United fanbase still support him because the huge change, positive change, he has made in the past two seasons since replacing David Moyes at the club, is obvious and what is needed.
Maybe performances aren’t the so-called ‘United way’ but United are in the top four, just a few points off top of the table and have rebuilt from a disastrous season under David Moyes.