Van Gaal rues sorry United show

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Published: Sunday 11th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Louis van Gaal criticised his star-studded Manchester United team after they failed to muster a single shot on target in their 1-0 defeat to Southampton.

Ronald Koeman got one over his old adversary on Sunday as Southampton beat United at Old Trafford for the first time in 27 years thanks to Dusan Tadic’s 69th-minute winner.

United were lacklustre throughout the match and Fraser Forster did not have a meaningful save to make all afternoon.

The defeat meant Southampton moved above United into third in the Barclays Premier League.

And disappointed Van Gaal was given a painful reminder that he now has the same number of points as his predecessor David Moyes did at this stage last season.

“You have been waiting for the moment to tell me I have the same points as David Moyes,” said the United manager, who was clearly unhappy at the comparison.

The Dutchman insists United are improving under his stewardship, but acknowledged that they were way below par on Sunday.

The most disappointing aspect of the defeat for the United boss was that a £150million front four of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria and Juan Mata failed to test the opposition goalkeeper.

“It is a bad result. We have to be better,” Van Gaal added.

“We were the dominating team but you have to create more chances when you are the dominating team.

“We didn’t choose the right solutions in the third and fourth phase.”

Tadic scored the winner 21 minutes from time after Graziano Pelle’s shot rebounded off a post and fell straight into the Serbian’s path.

Overall, Southampton were far from spectacular, but their organisation was far superior while Jose Fonte and Florin Gardos performed superbly at the back.

Southampton rode their luck at times but Van Gaal felt the result was fair – particularly because United were extremely fortunate to win themselves in the reverse fixture last month.

“We played a much better game than Southampton. They were lucky to score out of nothing,” Van Gaal said.

“They came for a draw, I believe, and they go away with a victory, That is disappointing.

“It is more or less the same match as we did in Southampton so when you ask if it is fair, may you take into account the match there.”

Van Gaal selected Di Maria up front alongside Van Persie and then shifted Rooney up front after the former Arsenal striker suffered an ankle injury.

The 63-year-old surprisingly omitted Radamel Falcao from his match day squad.

“We have a lot of players who are coming back and (Falcao) has played the last five matches in a row,” said Van Gaal, who said Van Persie’s ankle would be assessed on Monday.

Koeman’s relationship with Van Gaal has not been repaired since he fell out with his compatriot during their time together at Ajax.

The Saints boss held both arms aloft in a joyous celebration after the final whistle and he was equally jubilant in his post-match press conference.

“I am very happy,” Koeman said.

“We shook hands and that was enough. It was a good feeling, it was a better feeling than five weeks ago.”

Southampton are now just 10 points shy of league leaders Chelsea and Koeman insists his team’s Champions League credentials are genuine.

“We know that we have a strong team and that was important in the end of December,” Koeman said.

“We got a point against Chelsea and the three points against Arsenal.

“That makes belief in the players. That is what you need if you are not a big club, belief in the players, not afraid of the name or the stadium. We learned that.

“I am not surprised we won today. We have organisation. If we keep the spirit and the organisation, we can keep in front in the table.”

The only thing that disappointed Koeman was that Tadic removed his shirt in his goal celebration and therefore earned a booking.

“I don’t like that,” the former Holland defender said.

“It is a yellow card and a stupid fault, you get another and it is a red.

“When it is the last minute of the season and you have qualified for Europe, it is no problem. I don’t like that. Keep your shirt on.”

Van Gaal denied rumours Falcao left the stadium after being told he was not in the squad.

“Yes, he was here,” the United manager said of the Colombian.

Published: Sunday 11th January 2015 by The News Editor

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