Losing to Manchester United is almost a formality every season with us, but there is something about our latest Old Trafford defeat that frustrates me.
We played well and deserved to take something form the game, which is just so typical for us during a positive period where performances and results have been both morale boosting and encouraging.
Man United are not the best this season. They haven’t been at their best for a long time now. That’s why I felt we were well worth at least a point on Saturday even before a ball had been kicked.
That said, it was still a brilliant performance from the boys and you can’t say fairer than that, particularly after last season’s shambles.
Another fair comment would be that we are no longer the long ball team we used to be, and credit has to go to the owners, Allardyce and the players for adopting this new style so effectively.
So why did Van Gaal insist on criticism our style of football after the game and talk up his side’s attractive football? Why couldn’t he have held his hands up and admitted that we were unlucky in the end? Only he knows.
Here’s what he said: “The win is very important, you can imagine that. We played a very good first half with attractive football. We conceded again a goal from a set play.
“But OK, I am very happy that we hold the result until the end because it is very difficult to play against a team who not only have have one more player but who also play a lot of high balls. I am very pleased with the attitude of my players.”
See the comment in bold? Unfair? Of course it is, because it just isn’t true.
And to back that up, below is a league table of the average amount of long balls played per game by each Premier League club so far this season…
As you can clearly see, Man United have attempted the second highest amount of long balls per game on average so far this season. West Ham? Fourteenth. A whole 15 long balls less per game than Van Gaal’s Man United.
Perhaps, the Dutchman should check his stats before making such comments in future…