English Premiership

United start 'not good enough'

2014-08-25 08:44
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

Sunderland - Louis van Gaal has demanded an immediate improvement from Manchester United after admitting their start to the season has not been good enough.

They avoided matching their worst opening sequence to a Premier League campaign since 1992 by earning a point with an unconvincing display in a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

But after the first-day defeat at home to Swansea, the new Old Trafford manager was left with much to ponder, his assertion that his side need a miracle to win the title this season looking increasingly accurate.

He revealed confidence was low after seeing Juan Mata's goal at the Stadium of Light on Sunday cancelled out by Sunderland's Jack Rodwell to leave the former champions already five points behind the early pace-setters in their attempts to improve on a disappointing seventh-place finish in May.

"So much is down to confidence," van Gaal said. "In pre-season, our confidence was much better than it is now. "We're working hard to improve and if we win the next match then that confidence will start to come back."

The Dutchman added: "The players are disappointed because we thought we would win today (Sunday), and yet we have one point and it's not good enough for Manchester United.

"I can't say it was a better performance than last week because we didn't create as many chances as against Swansea. Our passing needs to be better because we gave the ball away a lot when I didn't expect us to."

Van Gaal couldn't lift spirits with a positive update on United's pursuit of Real Madrid's Angel di Maria, as he remained cautious over the prospects of signing the 60 million pound-rated Argentinian midfielder.

"I can't say about transfers at the moment," he explained. "When a transfer has been finished then we can say something but now you have to wait and see.

"The club has to announce it. When we are thinking it's the right time to announce it then we'll come to you and say we've bought this player or that player, but at the moment we can't say anything."

Showing his sense of humour hasn't been diminished by his testing introduction to life at Old Trafford, van Gaal added: "People have asked me if I like di Maria. Well, I like Lionel Messi also. There are a lot of players in the world I like, but they can't always come here."

United defender Chris Smalling limped off before half-time with a groin injury to add to the lengthy Old Trafford injury list before the club return to action against MK Dons in the League Cup on Tuesday.

Van Gaal, who refused to condemn Ashley Young for a second-half dive that earned the England midfielder a caution, said: "We had seven players out injured before this game, so now with Chris, that's eight.

"It's too early to say if he might be out for some time. I'm not a doctor. It's an unusual situation to have four midfield players out injured. That would impact on any club.

"That's why I played Adnan Januzaj in central midfield when I brought him on."

Sunderland performed well enough to have claimed a first home league win over United for 17 years.

But coach Gus Poyet was far from disappointed after his side claimed a second point of the campaign with a battling display.

"We were the best team for long spells, but the fact that we've not won isn't a wasted opportunity, it's still a point against Manchester United," he said.

"I think they will finish in the top four," the Uruguayan added.

"It's a different set-up for them without doubt and it's strange to see them playing three at the back, but give Louis van Gaal time and he will get things right."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

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
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.