Van Gaal claims Manchester United did all they could but decisions went against them
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes his side did all they could after being knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday.
A 3-2 loss to Wolfsburg in Germany and PSV’s 2-1 home win over CSKA Moscow means United were condemned to third spot in Group B and suffered elimination from the group stages, falling into the Europa League round of 32.
Anthony Martial gave United an early lead but goals to Naldo and Vieirinha put the Germans in front on the half-hour mark.
An own-goal from Josuha Guilavogui gave United a glimmer of hope late on but Naldo hit back just under two minutes later to hand the Premier League club a costly defeat.
Van Gaal admitted it was a crazy match but says his side gave it their best shot.
“I think it’s a crazy match, we had chances but they also had chances,” Van Gaal told BT Sport after the game.
“When we score, they score after two minutes. Also, the winning goal was two minutes after we equalise. We had chances to win, we fought for the win but we couldn’t do more than what we have done.
“It is strange but okay, it happens. Also in Eindhoven, CSKA scoring, then, within 10 minutes, PSV take the lead.
“That’s football but you are right, [a lack of concentration] is the first option that I think [can explain the defeat].”
United were ranked as favourites when the group was announced but Van Gaal criticised the referee’s performance in their opening game against PSV, in which they suffered a 2-1 loss.
“Now, you can say we were favourites. It was a tight group, all results are like that,” he continued.
“It’s always 1-0 or 2-1 but when you overview everything you remember that the first match against PSV there were also decisions of the referee that are not positive for us.
“When it is a tight group it can happen.”
Van Gaal also spoke about the Juan Mata offside decision, where the Spaniard was deemed to interfere in the play which cost Jesse Lingard an equaliser for United just before half-time.
“When you see it as [the] linesman … and when you give the goal first then players come and say to you, then you change your mind – it is strange,” the United manager said.
“I don’t think the goalkeeper was interfered [with] by Mata. The ball is turning in the goal so I don’t think he can reach the ball.
“He sees Mata in an offside position and … gives the benefit of that.”
And Van Gaal is not ready just yet to confront the reality that United must make do with UEFA’s second-tier club competition in the second half of the season.
“I don’t have thought about [Europa League football] at this moment. I’m very disappointed and the players are, this is where we want to show our qualities and we can’t do that anymore.”