Van Gaal: “I think we played a superb game”

Van Gaal: “I think we played a superb game”

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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal said his team deserved the win after his side let victory slip through their fingers in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Jesse Lingard’s goal just after the hour mark seemed to have won it for the Reds, only for poor defending late on to hand Diego Costa his sixth goal in as many games to claim a draw.

After the game, van Gaal said in his press conference that the result was unlucky:

I think we played a superb game until the last quarter,” he said.

We did not keep the ball and we did not play the attack in the way I think we have to do. We were unlucky that we got the goal against us, it was unbelievable. We did not reward ourselves.”

Costa’s goal came in the first of six injury time minutes, and van Gaal said that his team should have been more composed to see the game out:

It is because of Chelsea pushing with long balls and more aggression, but nevertheless you have to keep the ball and we have to be composed when we defend.

“We have to make sure we are not kicking the ball away without any meaning. There were a lot of times when I think we could have controlled the ball and played the ball.

“Also, we could have scored after the first goal, I think, but we do not reward ourselves. When you play such a game against a fantastic team like Chelsea, you have to reward yourself.”

However, the Dutchman couldn’t hide his true feelings after seeing two points dropped:

It is deep frustration for me because we were the better team.

“Again, we did not win and we had the chances but we did not win.”

On the things United could have done better, van Gaal said that the referee could have helped his side:

The defensive organisation, you have to be composed. When you can control the ball, you have to control the ball and then you can play it out, not just kicking the ball away and then the next attack of Chelsea is there.

“I don’t think that all the fouls were free-kicks but this referee gave them a lot of free-kicks at the end of the game. The time was also already over the six minutes and he let the corner kick play on. Then we had a free pitch for us, a lot of space, and then he whistled. He did that in the first half as well, maybe you remember that, so I think you cannot do that. I don’t think that was fair to two teams.”

With United now fifth in the table, can Gaal has said that work needs to be done to secure Champions League qualification next season:

When your aim is to be third, second or first then you need to win because the gap is already big and the gap is now bigger than before and that is not good.

“I know that we have to play a very nasty away duel and match against Chelsea. Of course, I shall say to my players that it was a fantastic performance until the last quarter, I have said that already, but we have to reward ourselves because it is not the first time this has overcome us.”