Monday 23 March 2015

Van Gaal hails first half performance

Louis van Gaal believes United played Liverpool "off the pitch" during the first half of Sunday's excellent 2-1 win at Anfield. 

The Reds produced an emphatic, commanding display in the opening 45 minutes and moved the ball with intent and purpose, particularly in the midfield area, which ultimately led to Juan Mata's impressive opener past Simon Mignolet with a quarter of an hour played.

Steven Gerrard was shown a straight red card at the start of the second half and United took advantage when Mata crashed home a spectacular second on the hour mark.
Although Liverpool were down to 10 men, the hosts were briefly galvanised and soon hit back through Daniel Sturridge.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, van Gaal paid tribute to his side's first half display and claimed that Gerrard's dismissal was actually detrimental to United.
"The first half was very good because I knew in advance that Liverpool would press us and they did, but we played them off the pitch in the first half" said the United boss
"We scored a fantastic goal and gave nothing away, so it was a superb first half.
"So, I went in the dressing room and I gave the players all my compliments because I am so happy that I can give my compliments again.
"Then,  in the second half everything changed because of the red card.
"Then we are not playing like a team, we are running with the ball, unnecessary losses of the ball, we don't press the opponent with the ball and that was different in the first half so the second half was not so good I think.
"I am very pleased though as we now have a gap between the fifth, sixth and seventh teams of the league and we have deserved to win."

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