English Premiership

LVG vexed by misfiring United

2015-10-29 10:09
Louis van Gaal (Supplied)
Louis van Gaal (Supplied)

Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admitted to concerns about his team's goal-scoring problems after they were bundled out of the League Cup on penalties by second-tier Middlesbrough.

The Premier League giants contrived to fail with three of their four attempts in Wednesday's 3-1 shoot-out loss, with England internationals Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young all unsuccessful.

That followed a goalless tie, including extra time, which extended United's run without a goal in domestic football to 238 minutes following a drab stalemate with Manchester City in last weekend's Manchester derby.

"Yes, of course," said Van Gaal when asked if he was worried about the statistics. "Because in football all that matters is a goal and we have played two matches zero-zero.

"In my opinion, we could have scored also against Manchester City, but now, again, we did not score. It's a concern, but I do know also it can easily turn around in the next game."

That next game comes at Crystal Palace on Saturday, with Van Gaal adamant that United's recent run of troubles in front of goal will have no adverse effect on his players.

"We are top sportsmen and you know that in any sport, there is not only winning, you lose also and you have to lift yourself," he said.

"It's disappointing. It's also disappointing for me, but tomorrow (Thursday) is another day and the day after tomorrow is already more about preparation for Crystal Palace."

Despite the desperate showing from the penalty spot against Middlesbrough, only Andreas Pereira was successful in four attempts, Van Gaal refused to be critical of the players who fluffed their lines in what the Dutch veteran described as the "casino" of a penalty shoot-out.

"In the goal was a goalkeeper (Tomas Mejias) and he was very quick and he gambled," he said.

"And he's 195 centimetres (6'4") also, so that's not easy to do. When the goalkeeper is gambling for the right corner, you need players who look at the goalkeeper and put it in the other (side).

"But you have already played 120 minutes, so you're not so sharp any more. That's why these things happen."

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Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Burnley v Stoke City, Turf Moor 21:45
Crystal Palace v Watford, Selhurst Park 22:00
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea, The John Smith's Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
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