Rio Ferdinand with a big question “Will the players be able to perform under him [Louis van Gaal]?”

Manchester United failed to deliver, in what was their most important game under Louis van Gaal and as a result of that, are out of the UEFA Champion’s League. United are now third in their group and qualify for the Europa League which in all honesty might do more harm than any good to the players. But as has been pointed out so many times in the last couple of weeks, this was supposed to be a tough game and should have been an inconsequential one. But the draw against PSV Eindhoven is what will haunt the players and the managers for some time now.

As was needed, Van Gaal’s United did start the game with all out attacking line up and would have liked to believe that it worked. Anthony Martial scored in the 10th minute of the game but what followed thereafter was a disappointing defensive performance. United were behind in the next 20 minutes, with Wolfsburg leading 2-1. With what is Van Gaal’s lowest point in his United career so far, there are already a section of fans calling for the manager’s head, a rather premature cry to be honest.   Paul Scholes, Van Gaal’s biggest critic off late, when asked if Van Gaal is indeed the right man for United, said:

“I think he’s the right man for now but he needs to at least get close to winning one competition.”

Rio Ferdinand, when opposed with the same question had a little less subtle opinion:

“It’s difficult. If he has the cheque book again, will world class players be able to play in this system?

“The big problem is that if he opens the cheque book again, will the players be able to perform under him? We saw Di Maria last time.”

Scholes went on further to give his reaction on tonight’s United game and was not kind either. He went on to say:

“United just look like an average team, and with an average team you are going to get average performances.”

Even the former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen gave Scholes company in bashing the team. He was even more ruthless in saying:

“Tonight is no surprise, [United] have put themselves under pressure to deliver a mammoth performance to get through the group but this is the culmination of many matches.

“I don’t look at it and just think of tonight or this season. I look at the 18 months that Louis van Gaal has been in charge.

“It’s 18 months of below par performances with all that money.”

While Ferdinand called this defeat and ouster from the Europe’s most elite competition and qualifying for Europa league as “embarrassing”:

“[The Europa League] is embarrassing. You’ve got to walk around Manchester and people are looking at you thinking you aren’t good enough, questioning you as a player and a team.

“I think this squad needs a good hard looking at. There’s no pace, power or great resilience.”

The manager however thought that the game was pretty even and called it “crazy”. When asked about his reactions on the game, he said:

“I think it is a crazy match. We scored the goals, then they are cancelling [out our] goals. Still we had chances, but they have also chances.

“When we scored, they scored after two minutes again. Also the winning goal was two minutes after we had equalised, so we had the chance to win I think.

“We fought for the win, but with ten men at the end [after injuries] we couldn’t do more than what we have done.”

But he was also quick to point out the decisions that did not go in United’s favor, some from the first game against PSV and some from today. When asked if United should be out of the tournament this early he said:

“No, you can say that we were the favourites, but we were in a very tight group, and all the results are like that.

“It is always 1-0 or 2-1. You remember the first match against PSV when there were decisions of the referee, and also today, decisions of the referee that were not positive for us.

“When it is a tight group it can happen.”

One of those decisions that did not go United’s way was the goal just before half time that was ruled off side and like many United supporters, even Van Gaal felt that it was a wrong decision, especially when given after such a long delay.

“When you see that as a linesmen then you are very good. When you firstly give the goal and then when a few players come and say to you, you change your mind, it is strange in my opinion.”

The manager also echoed fan’s sentiments of losing out on Champion’s League. HE expressed his disappointment saying:

“I am very disappointed, the players are very disappointed. This is the league where we wanted to show our qualities, and we cannot do that anymore.”

However, the former Dutch national manager also said that the circumstances were not ideal for United in this game:

“When you see the circumstances in which we have to play the match, with a lot of injuries and in the last 15 minutes we had to play with 10 players, you have to analyse that also.

“Of course it’s a step backwards but you have seen today also a lot of youngsters who played very well in my opinion.”

Reacting to how much progress has United made under him, he seemed dejected himself while saying:

“At the moment, I cannot defend myself because we are out of the Champions League and every word I say is a wrong word, I think.

“The facts are saying that we are better than last year, so that’s my answer because I can only give facts. I’m disappointed that we’re out of the Champions League, of course.”

United can only try and forget the disappointment from today as early as they can with an away tie coming up on the weekend. But the game which should have been a straight forward one against Bournemouth will now look a little more tricky with the likes of Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian doubtful. One can only hope that the youngsters will rise to the occasion as they did today, regardless of the result.


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