English Premiership

Van Gaal: United sub-standard

2014-08-31 10:00
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

Burnley - Louis van Gaal admitted Manchester United are playing well below the standards he demands after his spluttering side were held to a 0-0 draw by Burnley on Saturday.

Van Gaal heads into the international break still waiting for the first victory of his United reign after two draws and a defeat in the Premier League, as well as a humiliating loss at third-tier Milton Keynes Dons in the League Cup.

Managers often complain about the first international break, resenting the intrusion that interrupts their schedule and momentum before it has barely had chance to pick up speed.

But Van Gaal could be forgiven for relishing the opportunity to refine his plans for United over the next two weeks following their latest lacklustre effort against a Burnley team, who cost just £5 million to assemble, at Turf Moor on Saturday.

The former Netherlands boss had already warned it will take several months at least to fix the fallen giants following the ill-fated reign of David Moyes and he offered a distinctly unimpressed review of United's current status after they failed to break down newly-promoted Burnley.

Van Gaal, whose team will be stuck on two points - their worst start since 2007 - until they face promoted Queens Park Rangers on September 14, admitted: "We don't look world-class at the moment.

"We shall have to wait and believe it will happen. We shall see where we are in a month or so."

However, having scanned the fixture list to reveal games against Leicester City and West Ham United before the end of September, the Dutchman will expect his team to have hoisted themselves towards the right end of the table sooner rather than later.

By then he should have been joined by compatriot Daley Blind, the 24-year-old Ajax star who was a key part of Van Gaal's Netherlands team at the Soccer World Cup and is expected to sign imminently for around £14 million.

Blind's arrival will continue Van Gaal's £150 million overhaul of the United squad following the debut of Angel Di Maria on Saturday.

The Argentina midfielder, who cost a British record £59.7 million from Real Madrid, lasted 69 minutes before making way for Anderson after taking a kick to his calf.

Di Maria showed one or two nice touches at Turf Moor, but Van Gaal said: "He was not the world-class player we have seen in Madrid.

"He needs to adapt to English culture and the English way of playing. And his team-mates need to adapt as well."

At least there was no further defeat for Van Gaal to face.

United were spared that when David Jones, the Burnley midfielder who began his career at Old Trafford and captained the team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2003, sent his third-minute free-kick against David De Gea's crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.

Tom Heaton, Burnley's other United old boy in the home goal, found Robin van Persie and a subdued Rooney a less intimidating strike force than he might have expected, though he did well to parry at close range when Van Persie collected Di Maria's perfect pass.

Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager who would have settled for taking a point from Van Gaal's team after back to back defeats, insisted: "You don't get anything other than a test from Manchester United. You don't ever have an easy ride."


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