Louis van Gaal is pleased with some his players after Manchester United’s penalty defeat against Middlesbrough in the League Cup.
The Dutchman’s side was once again slow and predictable in their attacking moves, failing to convert a large segment of possession into chances.
Man United were forced to pay for their attacking impotency as they eventually succumbed to the Championship side on penalties, with Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young all failing from the spot.
However, despite such a disappointing evening, van Gaal insisted he was pleased with the way some of his players performed.
“Of course, there were some players that have played a very good game. I have to admit that I’m very proud of that because it’s not an easy game against Middlesbrough,” van Gaal told MUTV.
“So I’m pleased with some of the performances of my players but I am also disappointed with some of my players. That’s the life of the manager.”
After 120 minutes of painfully predictable football from United, it seems almost impossible to derive anything positive from tonight’s game.
However, the footballing optimist would point out stellar defensive performances from Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian, alongside another stimulating performance from Anthony Martial, who, through drawing a handball in the box from Daniel Ayala, should have won his side a penalty.
But with so many long-lasting issues – a significant lack of pace and conviction in the final third, an inability to finish chances, a misfiring captain, and an embarrassing incompetence when it comes to penalty shootouts – still glaringly present, these positives seem pretty futile on what was a night to forget for all those connected with the club.