Louis van Gaal is well aware his Manchester United squad isn’t good enough to compete and knew before the game against Swansea that he needed to bring in ‘better players’.
United’s dismal loss against Swansea at the weekend came as a shock to fans after consistently impressive pre-season performances but the pressure of the Premier League caused United’s players to buckle.
On the contrary, it comes as no shock to fans that Van Gaal feels the squad isn’t good enough but the Dutchman has at least acknowledged the underlying issues, which goes some way to suggest they will be resolved.
“That is not a question because I knew that before this game,” Van Gaal said when asked if United needed to bring in players.
“Of course we need defenders. It is also the question if we can play like a team and if we can reach the [right] level. Today, we didn’t reach that level. When you don’t play like a team, when you miss the chances, it is very difficult because every team shall create chances against us because we are playing with a big space behind us.
“I have said before that because of our wins in the United States and against Valencia the expectation is so high, and I have seen in the first half a lot of players very nervous, making the wrong choices, and that is a pity.
“These players have to get used to that expectation because this is Manchester United. You have to cope with that pressure. I have said to them in the dressing room: ‘I cannot say you didn’t do your very best, unbelievable work, fantastic mentality, but reaching the level is difficult, not only running but using your brain and then you can play like a team.’ In that, we have failed today.”
Van Gaal’s openness about the quality of his squad should push the issue with Ed Woodward that action needs to be taken immediately. United fans have ‘watched this space’ for 50 days since the arrival of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera and have only seen tumble weed, so the time for action is now.
The loss will have a crushing effect on the confidence of the team but Van Gaal is refusing to let the result of one game dictate anything at the moment.
He added: “It is not good because we have built up a lot of confidence and it shall be smashed down because of this result. But we have to know it is only one game of many games and you shall not be the champion at this moment, you shall be the champion in May.”