Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal cut a disappointed figure following his teama s surprising 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, making it two defeats in a row for the Red Devils.
The 20-time champions, who had won six on the trot prior to last weeka s 1-0 defeat to league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, failed to make too many chances despite enjoying 65 percent possession. Not only did Van Gaala s side lack the cutting edge in the final third, they also lacked intensity a something the Dutchman admitted.
a Everton had more aggression and motivation than us and that is the first time I have seen that this year, so I was very disappointed by half-time,a van Gaal told MUTV. a We could not restore [the scores] because Everton defended very well and played on the counter attack. Then it is always difficult.a
The 63-year-old was forced to take Marouane Fellaini out of the match at half-time as the Belgian was on a yellow card and was finding it hard to adjust to the hostile atmosphere at Goodison Park. It was, of course, the 27-year-olda s first match at the ground after making his move to United last year.
That, however, wasna t the only factor that forced Van Gaal to bring on Radamel Falcao for the Belgian as United were already two goals down.
a You need a quick goal and the quick goal was not coming. Then you have to change because you want to try other players with other qualities and still I didna t feel we were coming back.a
a They finished the game with the third goal, of course, which was also a tricky goal a offside or not offside. You always have to run with your opponent, but I can imagine [Antonio] Valencia was thinking his opponent was offside.a
Yet, it wasna t that controversial goal that cost United that match, it was their inability to win defensive duals and second balls which the Dutchman confessed was the biggest reason that his side suffered that defeat.
a We shall always be compared to the opponent in motivation and aggression. We need to be higher than the opponent but thata s not always possible. It was more or less the first time I saw this.a
“When you see the shots on the goal, they were not the shots that I am used to with the conviction to shoot. That is what I am saying, we were less than our opponents in aggression and winning the second balls, or winning the duels in defence. The first goal, we lost three duels in a row on a counter attack from a corner of ours. You cannot lose three duels in a row.a
While the Red Devils remain seven points ahead of fierce rivals Liverpool in the race for fourth spot, the Merseysiders do have a game in hand and could cut Uniteda s lead to just four points when they take on Hull City on Tuesday night.