Manchester United were riding on the high of an undefeated 2016, until Southampton FC came along and reminded the club of everything that has gone wrong for them this season. Old Trafford saw the Saints plunder a 1-0 victory, and Louis van Gaal has admitted that his teams performance deserved the boos.
The Red Devils slumped to their 6th league defeat this season, as an 87th minute header from new recruit Charlie Austin, helped Southampton repeat the result they got at Old Trafford last year. The fans were understandably furious at their team, who produced just one shot on target, and drowned the players in jeers and boos after the match.
“They are right to boo. I cannot deny that, I saw the match,” said the Dutch manager, according to BBC.
Van Gaal stressed on the need to stick together during this tough time for the club, where the fans are going increasingly frustrated at their lack of attacking prowess.
Injury crisis at the back
The manager, however, also attributed some of their troubles to the injuries that have made the club look very vulnerable at the back.
“We are working very hard, but we have had a lot of injuries. That you cannot change.”, he said.
Ashley Young was recently injured and ruled out for a considerable period, while Matteo Darmian also had to come off during the second half against Southampton. Earlier injuries to other defenders like Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia, means that should Darmian be ruled out with injury, Manchester United will have only Chris Smalling as a fit out and out defender and Daley Blind to lead their defensive line.
Although players like Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Guillermo Varela are there to make up the ranks, they do not have the experience to be put into the first team like this. The fullback position is one that Van Gaal must adrress during this transfer window, if Manchester United are to salvage anything at all from this season.