Louis van Gaal has insisted that his Manchester United side “gave everything” in their 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Dutchman’s side, after a woeful first leg, had to overcome a 2-0 deficit ahead of the return fixture at Old Trafford.
But, after a spirited start which saw Anthony Martial put Man United ahead, the tie was effectively decided by Philipe Coutinho’s outstanding solo goal just before half time. Van Gaal was adamant that, despite the poor result, United threw everything at Liverpool.
“They gave everything,” he said after the game.
“More than everything. I am pleased that the fans saw that and gave them applause at the end.”
Indeed, the first half was characterised by a level of aggression seldom seen at the Theatre of Dreams this season. Van Gaal’s side appeared to emerge from their slumber, and, spearheaded by the effervescent Martial, went for Liverpool’s jugular.
And while such an onslaught was ultimately in vein, United fans – wary of the upcoming derby – will be encouraged by such a level of intensity. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for the second half; in front of the Stretford End, United needed three goals. And what they produced was dire – only managing one solitary shot on target. In a situation that demanded complete bombardment, such an effort is laughable. As it was, van Gaal’s side, and indeed Old Trafford itself, slowly descended into sullen acceptance at the prospect of yet another defeat.