The Reds were held on Tyneside despite finding themselves two goals to the good in the first half. After being brought back to level terms, Wayne Rooney‘s strike from outside the area gave Man United a lead to hold on to. However, Paul Dummett’s 90th minute equaliser meant it was two points dropped for van Gaal’s men on what turned out to be a frustrating evening.
Having finally shown some real attacking intent, the fact that the defence, which has been stellar for the majority of this season, could not aid the strikers will certainly annoy van Gaal. United could even have wrapped the game up through big chances for both Jesse Lingard and Marouane Fellaini but were left to rue those missed opportunities.
“Everybody knows it is our own fault. It was not the referee or the opponent. We did it ourselves,” van Gaal said.
United conceded a dubious penalty in the second half that allowed Newcastle to level things up. After Chris Smalling and Aleksandar Mitrovic were grappling in the penalty area, referee Mike Dean decided to award the spot kick when he could have easily blown for a free-kick the other way.
It is good to see van Gaal refuse to blame the referee despite the controversial call but there is no doubt it had a huge effect on the match. The manager will be hoping for better luck on Sunday when his side travel to take on rivals Liverpool at Anfield in a massive clash where three points are absolutely crucial.