Louis van Gaal insisted that Manchester United played well against Tottenham Hotspur before the first goal, even though the Red Devils could muster just one shot on target in their 3-0 defeat at White Hart Lane.
Manchester United suffered a major blow to their Champions League title hopes on Sunday, with their 3-0 loss to Tottenham highlighting the gulf between the inspirational Spurs and the declining power that the Red Devils have become.
Even after the crushing defeat, manager Louis van Gaal maintained that Manchester United played well up until the first goal opened the floodgates for Tottenham.
“I don’t think so because I think Tottenham is a great team and I have said that also in advance of this match,” said Van Gaal when asked if the manner of defeat was disappointing, according to the official Manchester United website.
“But, until the first goal, I think we were a good team who were playing good in Tottenham and we also had a big chance for a goal, so you cannot say the way that we have lost… Yes 3-0 is a big negative result but the way that we have played until the first goal was good.”
Van Gaal also revealed why he played Ashley Young as lone striker towards the end of the match, saying that he wanted more running in behind and hoped Young would become the attacking point of the team.
Top four hopes slowly evaporating
Manchester United’s crushing loss to Tottenham and Manchester City’s victory over West Brom meant that the Blue side of Manchester went four points clear of United. The Red Devils are currently just a point ahead of sixth-placed West Ham United and have a vastly inferior goal difference compared to City. On Sunday’s evidence, holding on to fifth position could be more worrisome for Manchester United than trying to displace their cross town rivals in fourth.
Louis van Gaal’s men are also out of the Europa League, losing to arch rivals Liverpool earlier in the season, meaning that their only pathway to the Champions League is a top four finish in the Premier League. Failing to qualify for the Champions League is a huge blow to the revenue and prestige of a club like Manchester United and it remains to be seen if the club persist with Van Gaal if he fails to reach that objective.