Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal blamed fatigue and a tight festive schedule after their Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur ended in a goalless draw last night.
Within 48 hours of defeating Newcastle United 3-1 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, the Reds travelled to London to take the field at White Hart Lane in the their last game of the year, as they looked to close the gap on Chelsea and Manchester City.
But despite creating numerous goal-scoring chances in the first half, with Radamel Falcao, Juan Mata and Robin Van Persie all coming close to netting the coveted opener, nothing got past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as United’s title chase was hindered by a frustrating stalemate.
Manchester United are now ten points behind Jose Mourinho’s side, who currently sit at the top, followed by City, despite both sides dropping points yesterday.
However, Van Gaal bemoans losing the two points, and insisted that even with the physical demands of the Christmas fixtures, his side had one of their best outings and should have gone home with the three points, had they converted the chances they created.
“We lost two points I think,” the Dutchman was quoted as saying via the club’s official website.
“We had the best performance of Manchester United’s season in the first half, we could have scored four or five goals I think, but we didn’t reward ourselves. In the second half, it was more of a struggle than football.
“You could see [then] that the players could not recover in two days. It was an ugly match. In the first half we played very well, but when you do not score goals then you cannot win”, the 63-year-old reflected.
“I said already before the matches, it is the culture of England [to play twice in 48 hours]. I think the human body cannot recover with 48 hours and in the second half it was a struggle.
“We gave three possibilities or chances away but we could have also scored from three possibilities – Juan Mata, van Persie and Falcao could have scored. The first half was a fantastic half of ours, but then you have to finish the attacks and we were not so effective today”, the manager added.
Manchester United will be hoping to continue their nine-match unbeaten run when they kick-start their New Year by taking on Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on January 1.