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Louis van Gaal again calls his team “not good enough” after another listless offensive output

Aug 24, 2014, 3:07 PM EDT

A week ago Louis van Gaal said he needed “better players” following the team’s defeat to Swansea in their season opener at Old Trafford.

Following their 1-1 draw with Sunderland where the squad looked disjointed at best, van Gaal was at it again, this time singling out his midfield for their listless play.

“You have to recognize the fight of the opponent,” van Gaal said in the postmatch presser. “We have reached Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie a lot of times, but after that you need the support of the midfielders, and the combination was not good enough.”

The Dutch manager’s new 3-5-2 system is supposed to be focused on more attacking play, and that was his focus after the club held the majority of possession.

“The purpose of the game is to create more chances and score goals,” he said. “We haven’t created more chances, but in the second half we were more dominant than we were against Swansea. That’s a plus, but we have to create more from that dominance.”

This revelation – which was, in all honesty, quite clear throughout the match – comes on the heels of news that Manchester United has agreed to a Premier League record fee to bring in Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid as a creative talisman to partner with Rooney and van Persie, something meant to fix exactly this problem.

When asked about Di Maria after the match, van Gaal tried to play it cool. “I think always the club has to announce [a transfer] and when we are thinking it’s the right time for a transfer then we come to you and say, ‘OK, we have bought that player or the other player,’ but at this time we cannot say anything.

“I like [Lionel] Messi also. I like [Arturo] Vidal also. We have a lot of players in this world that I like but they cannot come always to Manchester United.”

Van Gaal thought his side twice earned a penalty in the span of about 10 seconds, but both were waved off and Ashley Young was booked for diving.

“The only reason to give a penalty is when the opponent touches the leg of a player. Van Persie and Young were touched. Young lifted the ball across the opponent and he was touched by the opponent.

Again though, van Gaal blamed his own team.

“The referee can give a penalty, but we don’t have to talk too much about that. We can talk about our passing game which was not good enough.”

United are under immense pressure to make a return to the Champions League next season after finishing 7th in the table last campaign.  However, the club has just one point through its first two matches.

  1. Ian's Rushtache - Aug 24, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Young was not a pen for me. He was in the air and going over before the contact was made.

    On the evidence of 2 games it’s hard to see how United will qualify for Europa let alone CL.

    Where will Di Maria play? Where will Shaw play? Seems Woodward is targeting names rather than needs.

    • geejon - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      I’m pretty sure it’s not Woodward’s call as to what players are sought after. LvG tells him who he wants and Woodward sees if he can make it happen and if so for how much.

      Di Maria adds desperately needed pace to this team but you’re right in that in a 3-5-2 he doesn’t seem to have an obvious position. LvG was crazy enough to try Januzaj in central midfield today (where he looked predictably terrible), but he was desperate for some creativity and in LvG’s defense it wan’t any worse than the Fletcher/Cleverly duo, so he just might play Di Maria there next to Herrera when Herrera gets healthy. Di Maria has played central midfield before. The only other option is wingback though I doubt they spent that much money to have him learn a new position which involves so much defending.

      Personally, I would sell RVP. He’s not getting any younger and you can still get a decent return for him. This team won’t contend for another 2 years and by then he’ll be way beyond his prime. If you sell him you’re not pressured into starting both him and Rooney and then can play a 4-2-3-1 where Shaw plays his natural fullback position and Rooney is up top with Mata behind him and Januzaj and Di Maria on the wings where they’re playing their best positions. Still need to find another class midfielder to pair with Herrera but that could be coming in January if Strootman shows he’s recovered.

  2. peter845 - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    I watched the first 10 mins and then I went to play with my 1 year old! It was more entertaining… Lol

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