The Reds went into the game knowing a win would give them a much easier task for when they visit Wolfsburg, who lead the group, in a fortnight’s time. However, Man United’s inability to finish their chances against PSV now means they have to win in Germany in order to qualify for the knockout round.
United dominated against the Dutch champions but were inept in front of goal and were unable to apply the finishing touch to some impressive forward play, especially in the first half. The likes of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard missed brilliant opportunities to break the deadlock and United may look back at those chances if they fail to make the knockout round.
The manager was disappointed with the display but is still optimistic that his side will progress from an extremely tight group. Speaking after the game, van Gaal said: “We could have finished in the first half but also in the second half, to the end we’re not so good any more, we were afraid to play the ball but nevertheless do not give too much chances away.
“The midfielders were dropping too much and that is why we didn’t support too much our front players. We have created in one half three open chances and they’re difficult chances.
“I cannot say every game in the interview with you that we didn’t finish but it is the truth.”
The Dutchman knows that his side will have their work cut out for them when they visit Wolfsburg, especially since the German side only need a draw to ensure qualification. PSV still need to beat CSKA Moscow in their final group game in order to force United into the Europa League for the remainder of the season, something van Gaal does not think will be easy for the Dutch champions.
“It will be very difficult because Wolfsburg are the best team in our group to play against, but it is possible,” he added.
“We have won also at home and PSV has to win against Moscow, it is not so easy.”
The Reds have put themselves in a tough position with a dismal display at Old Trafford. They have to now try and put it behind them as they look to bounce back against Leicester City in a top of the table Premier League clash on Saturday. A win would send United top of the league and could galvanise them ahead of the now crucial game against Wolfsburg.