Van Gaal blames injuries for Manchester United's latest blunder
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal blamed his side’s injury crisis for their 2-1 defeat against FC Midtjylland in their Europa League tie, as the pressure built to breaking point on the beleaguered Dutchman.
Memphis Depay's close-range finish put United in front in the 37th minute, but they failed to build on that start and their Danish rivals ran out worthy winners in the end.
Pione Sisto capitalisd on a Michael Carrick error - equalised seven minutes later, and a fine strike from Midtjylland substitute Paul Onuachu (below) with 13 minutes to go then handed the Danish champions victory on the night.
An injury-hit United side were still expected to sweep their unheralded opponents aside with a degree of ease as they eye up an extended run in the Europa League, yet this was another example of a team and a club falling from grace at a rapid rate under the guidance of their increasingly discredited coach.
Van Gaal side have failed to have now failed to win 21 of their last 39 competitive matches, with his post match interview on BT Sport doing little to silence his critics as he insisted the primary reason for this latest defeat was an injury crisis that was deepened by an injury to keeper David De Gea, who missed the Midtjylland game after picking up a knee injury in the pre-match warm-up.
"We scored and could have scored more," declared Van Gaal, as he tried to find a silver lining in his side's lamentable display. In the second half, we didn't win any second balls and we could not avoid the second goal.
"When you play with another team evert week and with other players, it is difficult," he added, clearly suggesting his squad's injury woes were the primary reason for this latest setback.
Man Utd captain Michael Carrick was evidently downbeat in his BT Sport interview, as he accepted the display was not up to scratch.
"It's not good enough, not acceptable," accepted Michael Carrick. "The performance is nowhere near good enough and it has to be better. We caused a lot of our own problems, all in all it's just not good enough.
"It was there for us to win the game, we should have won that but we go home very disappointed. The only positive we can take is that we have a chance to put it right next week. It won't be easy but at home we still fancy our chances. We have given ourselves a tough job. We have to give everything we can."
It remains to be seen whether this latest defeat is the final straw for United's owners just a few days after their loss at Sunderland, with Van Gaal seemingly keen to continue despite a fresh storm of protest set to flow in his direction.