Belfast Telegraph

Defeated Manchester United furious after bus attack

By Robert Jones

Manchester United's hopes of a spot in next season's Champions League took a hammering - as did their team bus before the match, with kick-off delayed for 45 minutes - with West Ham signing off from Upton Park with a spectacular 3-2 victory.

The Hammers will move to the Olympic Stadium at the start of next season, but United are heading for the Europa League with defeat handing the initiative to Manchester City in the race for fourth spot.

On a night when the United team bus was attacked by West Ham fans, under-fire boss Louis van Gaal could not inspire his side to match the passion of the home team.

Images and videos of the attack began circulating on social media, with the tinted windows of the United coach being cracked and damaged by missiles.

Van Gaal said: "It is not so nice. The way we have been received is not the proper way, of course. That makes all the influence on the players and that is a pity."

United captain Wayne Rooney added: "It wasn't nice. The coach got smashed up, but we're here now, so have to prepare for the game and go out and do our job.

"It was disappointing. We know it's a big game for West Ham, a big night for them, leaving the stadium, but West Ham as a club will be disappointed."

West Ham co-Chairman David Sullivan said: “It is depressing really, it will be a late night for our fans and some of them won’t be able to stay.

“I don’t understand why United couldn’t get here at 4pm. They could have got here early. They knew it would be busy. It’s crazy.

“There was congestion in the street and they couldn’t get the coach in. There were people around the coach.

“If we arrived late at Old Trafford they wouldn’t put the kick-off back.”

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: “We are aware that a number of items were thrown at the Manchester United coach.

“One police officer and a member of the public sustained minor injuries. No arrests have been made.”

As for the match, Diafra Sakho gave West Ham an early lead before United hit back with a double from Anthony Martial which would have meant a home win over Bournemouth on Sunday would have secured the final Champions League place.

But goals from Michail Antonio and Winston Reid dashed their hopes as West Ham marked their last ever game at Upton Park with an emotional victory in front of a 34,602 full house.

United boss Van Gaal is sure to come under pressure if his side fail to secure a top four berth, with neighbours and fierce rivals City now requiring just a point at Swansea on Sunday.

Van Gaal said: “It is very disappointing because we were ahead. We gave it away because of the set plays.

“As a manager you are never satisfied but when you are 2-1 ahead after 70 minutes then you have to make the pitch bigger and keep the ball better.”

On the scenes outside the ground before kick-off, he added: “As a professional we live in this world. We know it can happen so we have to cope with that.

“Twenty minutes from the end we were 2-1 ahead so I don’t think that was an influence.”

He refused to rule out United’s top four hopes.

“I think it is still possible but it is not in our own hands and that is the difference,” said Van Gaal, whose side face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday week.

United midfielder Michael Carrick added: “We were in a good position but we didn’t help ourselves. You have got to be better than that, cleverer than that.

“The atmosphere was loud and what we expected. We have been in big atmospheres before. You have got to deal with that.

“It is Man City’s hands now. We have let that slip. We have got to win our final game and see what happens,” he said.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic admitted it had been a rollercoaster night.

“It was big pressure. We have had a great season and I told the guys however it finished in the last few games it has been a great season,” he said.

“We were under pressure still, we didn’t want to lose our last game. We just wanted to win it and this was a win of character.

“We didn’t stop believing. We knew they were highly motivated because they could have leapt above Manchester City.

“We totally deserved it. It was a great night, it is history, not just a game.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph