Friday 27 April 2018

Van Gaal cools Neymar talk as Reds draw blank

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has denied he is in urgent need of strikers
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has denied he is in urgent need of strikers

Paul Hirst

Louis van Gaal has denied he is in urgent need of attacking reinforcements despite watching his Manchester United team record a disappointing goalless draw against Newcastle.

United's 100 per cent record fell by the wayside after a wasteful performance at Old Trafford yesterday.

United dominated the opening stages, making six attempts at goal in the first 20 minutes, but failed to capitalise on their dominance. For the tenth United game in succession, Wayne Rooney - who has been pushed into the striker's role this season - failed to find the net. He had a goal disallowed for offside early, and registered a shot on target for the first time this season, but is still without a goal for United since April.

When asked after the match whether United's performance meant he needed to sign more strikers, Van Gaal said: "No, because we were three times the best team.

"My worry is that we have to dominate the opponent and we did it today, we did it against Aston Villa, Tottenham and (Club) Brugge. I am satisfied with the performance and not with the result and that is different. We were unlucky with rewarding ourselves because we have created a lot of chances."

It was anticipated that Pedro would bolster United's forward ranks, but the former Barcelona forward joined Chelsea on Thursday. One report claimed that Van Gaal has now turned his attentions to Pedro's former Barcelona team-mate Neymar.

The Dutchman refused to discuss the report linking United with the Brazil star after the final whistle.

"I don't enter in this discussions. You can ask about all the players in the world and you are doing that every press conference and I always say the same, I have to protect the interests of Manchester United, the players in my selection and the people in my organisation."

One of Van Gaal's former charges, Tim Krul, also played a big part in the outcome of the match. The Dutchman, who played under Van Gaal for the national side, saved from Rooney and Juan Mata before the break and at the death he pulled off a stunning save to deny substitute Javier Hernandez.

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren, making his first return to Old Trafford since coming back to English football, was impressed by how Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini kept Rooney and his team-mates quiet.

"I think we did a very good job on him," said McClaren, who was assistant to Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford for two-and-a-half years. "We did a good job on (Adnan) Januzaj too. I thought the front four were excellent, we had to deal with that."

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