Louis van Gaal believes that injuries have played a big part in Manchester United’s troubles over the course of the campaign.
Man United, currently fifth in the Premier League table, are in the hunt for a top four finish and they will face Crystal Palace at Wembley in the FA Cup final on May 21.
The season may well end successfully but van Gaal came under huge pressure over the December and Christmas period as United suffered demoralising defeats against the likes of Norwich City and Bournemouth. But the Dutchman insisted that an injury crisis his squad suffered was to blame for the poor form.
“I always talk about facts, not about hypothetical circumstance and activities. I can only say that in the end of November we had first position, after that we had a big decline,” van Gaal said.
“It’s a big damage, but the month of December has its own reasons for that.
“You have to cope with that, that is what we have to do. But when the injuries are so much in the same position, you cannot solve every problem anymore. These are the facts. But you can never say that if we didn’t have so many injuries that we would be first, because I have great respect for the champions, Leicester City.
“When I say we had injuries it’s not respectful to the champions, and they deserve it. But you see what we have done against the top five, you can see what we have done against the bottom five, and that is not a good average.”
Van Gaal’s comments are odd for two reasons.
First of all, van Gaal chose to trim his squad in the summer, and in doing so left the team bare when the injuries came along. The injury crisis was substantial but a club of United’s resources should have had quality depth to choose from.
Secondly, van Gaal’s negative tactics didn’t help things. United were generally able to put out a team full of international players but the Dutchman’s negative style of play seemed to zap the confidence from them and defeat almost felt like an inevitability. For van Gaal to so often deflect the blame on anything but himself is disappointing to see.