Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal believes that his side has conceded “too many goals”. The Dutchman has asked his team to defend as a unit, including the strikers.
The Red Devils have let in nine goals in six matches–only Crystal Palace has let in more than nine in the top half of the table
The club faces a visit from Everton tomorrow and van Gaal has called for his team to have a better defensive organization as a team.
“I want my defensive organisation to be better but the defence begins in the striker’s position,” he said.
“It’s teamwork, so when we concede a goal it’s not only because of an individual error from the defence. It starts somewhere else and that is what we have to analyse and improve.
“All the teams are mostly scoring goals out of counterattacks against us and free-kicks and corners – not that they make their goals like we do out of building up, first, second, third and fourth phase. That’s the difference and, when you want to be a big team, you have to perform like that. You must dominate the game. When they are organised and also when the team is organised in their own half, then you need these kinds of players [who can carry this out]. But you also need to think about the balance of the team and the defensive organisation at the same time. That is what I’m working on.”
When asked if having too many attack minded players like Ángel di María in the side, makes the defensive aspect difficult, van Gaal said, “You want to make it personal. We are playing like a team and then you pick up on Di María, it’s a pity. We have a lot of creative attacking players in our selection and I like that but I also like to think that you have the discipline to come back in a certain shape because now we have conceded too many goals. The media are writing it’s because of the weak defence, but no. I have explained I want to improve your knowledge of football also.”
Captain Wayne Rooney won’t be participating in the game as his red card against West Ham earned him a three match suspension. Juan Mata is likely to replace the player in the starting number 10 role.
“I will miss Wayne because he is the captain of the team but Mata can also play very well. I have to choose. Juan Mata has played well in his (Rooney’s) position. We have eight injuries and one red card, so nine players are not available.
“It’s difficult to explain. You can be fit but not match fit – that’s a big difference. For example, Ander Herrera is fit but he cannot play because of his rib pressure and Marouane Fellaini has trained for one week but is not fit to play 90 minutes.”
When asked, what Adnan Januzaj has to do to make the starting XI, van Gaal said, “You make it again personal. I cannot answer that, it’s personal.”
Regarding McNair, he added: “We still have three central defenders injured, so he shall play.
“He is the only player who can play in the right-sided defensive position. I chose him last week and he was very good. It’s difficult for a player like him to maintain that level – that is his biggest challenge.”