Champions League

Rooney wants ruthless United

2015-11-26 09:40
Wayne Rooney (AFP)

Manchester - Manchester United's Champions League ambitions were plunged into doubt after a 0-0 home draw against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday that highlighted the English team's attacking shortcomings under manager Louis van Gaal.

On a day when Old Trafford paid tribute to the late George Best on the 10th anniversary of the great winger's death, how United fans wished they had a player to produce similar wizardry or excitement in the current team.

After wasting a string of early chances, United faded against the Dutch champions and was hanging on for a draw by the final whistle, which was met with boos from many home fans. It was United's fourth goalless draw in its last seven games in all competitions.

United is a point behind Wolfsburg with one game remaining, and may have to beat the Germans away in their group closer in two weeks to reach the knockout stage. That's because PSV is only a point further back in third, ahead of its last match at home to CSKA Moscow.

"Of course I'm worried," said Van Gaal, who described United's display as "average" in the first half and no better in the second.

Van Gaal will be even more concerned once he sees Wolfsburg's home record. The German side has won both its home games in the Champions League without conceding, and is unbeaten its last 29 home games in the Bundesliga.

United has scored only six goals in its last eight games, and looked directionless after its high-tempo start failed to yield any reward.

"We are not ruthless enough - we have to score more goals as a team," United captain Wayne Rooney said. "(It's) a learning curve but we cannot go on saying that. We have to change these (draws) into victories."

In the seventh minute, fans around the ground turned on their smartphone torches in a stunning visual salute to Best, who was one of British football's greatest players and was a United icon in the No. 7 jersey.

Memphis Depay wears that jersey now and he endured a frustrating match against the club he left in the summer, before getting substituted in the 58th minute.

United harried PSV early on and created some clear-cut chances, with fit-again striker Anthony Martial poking a shot straight at goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet and holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin failing to get enough on a close-range attempt from Daley Blind's corner.

Frustration among United fans grew, with a section jeering the team at one stage in the second half after an attack came to nothing. Minutes earlier, United center back Chris Smalling attempted to start a move from defense but stopped and threw his hands up in the air in unhappiness at the lack of movement in front of him.

PSV finished the stronger, although never really tested United goalkeeper David de Gea except for Davy Propper's shot from distance.

"They want to dominate the game. That is their style," PSV coach Phillip Cocu said. "We felt as the game went on and they couldn't score, they were not so dominant anymore. They couldn't find a solution to beat our defense. We were tactically very good."

United's players looked exhausted in the final minutes, and the final whistle was greeted by lots of boos.

"We have won already our home match against Wolfsburg, so why can't we win in Wolfsburg?" Van Gaal said. "Our away results are much better than last season."

 

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