Belfast Telegraph

Van Gaal won't emulate Sir Alex Ferguson at Man United any time soon

By Steven Beacom

Louis van Gaal was honest enough to admit it. On the eve of last night's Champions League encounter against PSV Eindhoven, he said he didn't have a clue if his Manchester United side were good enough to challenge European football's elite.

It's safe to say he knows the answer now!

Not even close.

At this rate, following a 2-1 loss in Holland, they will struggle to make it out of their group, let alone get the chance to take on the might of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus later in the competition.

Mind you, that might be a blessing in disguise. Can you imagine what Messi, Suarez and Neymar or Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema would do to the current United team?

PSV Eindhoven 2-1 Manchester United: Luke Shaw suffers broken leg in horror tackle as PSV sink Red Devils


In what has been a rarity in Van Gaal's reign, there was actually some optimism amongst United fans prior to the match with PSV after the 3-1 home win over Liverpool in the Premier League at the weekend.

Forgotten it seemed in the Stretford End's excitement, celebrating the memorable late goal from £36 million teenager Anthony Martial, was just how poor Liverpool were in that defeat.

To prove the point United weren't up to the task last night in a more testing environment.

The truth is Van Gaal's United are nothing special. A victory over their fiercest rivals, enjoyable as it was for United supporters, should not camouflage that.

Like on Saturday night, United had plenty of possession in Holland, but they created little with it and ultimately were made to pay for a lack of invention and a distinctly average performance from Juan Mata, who was operating in the playmaker role. Mata should have taken his lead from the man who gave United exactly that... Memphis Depay coming up with a piece of individual magic to break the deadlock on 41 minutes against his old club.

Louis Van Gaal is left to lament Manchester United's lack of a cutting edge

There is no doubt the boy has talent.

Consistency will be the key for him going forward.

Ditto United as a whole.

Their last five results tell the tale: Draw, Win, Loss, Win, Loss.

The two defeats in that list in Swansea and Eindhoven came after United were in front.

Frustrating for bossman Van Gaal.

Manchester United's young guns need time, warns Van Gaal

PSV's equaliser was down to slack defending from a corner allowing Hector Moreno to head in via a Daley Blind deflection before the break.

And 12 minutes after the interval, the visitors were caught napping when Maxime Lestienne whipped in a fine cross for Luciano Narsingh to nod into the net.

United huffed and puffed in search of a leveller, but this is a team that doesn't blow houses down with the force of a hurricane Sir Alex Ferguson style.

All LVG has got right now is a gentle breeze!

No points then to start their group campaign and what made a dismal night even worse was the horror injury to 20-year-old defender Luke Shaw.

The young left back, who had started the season in fine form, suffered a double fracture of his right leg after a first half challenge from Moreno.

A bitter blow to the player, Van Gaal and Manchester United.

Belfast Telegraph


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