Van Gaal ad­mits Man Utd blown away by Liverpool

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Manch­ester United man­ager Louis van Gaal said his team had been sim­ply over­whelmed by Liverpool's high press­ing dur­ing their one-sided 2-0 Europa League de­feat at a rau­cous An­field.

Daniel Stur­ridge, with a penalty, and Roberto Firmino scored as Liverpool claimed a de­served win on Thurs­day, and the hosts might have put the last 16 tie to bed had it not been for United goal­keeper David de Gea.

Ex-United play­ers Paul Sc­holes and Rio Fer­di­nand, analysing the game for BT Sport, de­liv­ered sting­ing crit­i­cisms of their old team's dis­play - the for­mer brand­ing it "sham­bolic" - and Van Gaal con­ceded his side had strug­gled with the Liverpool's in­ten­sity.

"I have seen we did not cope with the pres­sure, the high pres­sure of Liverpool," Van Gaal told his post-match press con­fer­ence af­ter the first ever Euro­pean meet­ing be­tween Eng­land's two most suc­cess­ful clubs.

"We had ex­pected that and for me it was a sur­prise we did not cope with that be­cause they did it the same way in the home match this year that we played against them (which United won 3-1). "Be­cause they pro­voked first, we could not play the ball from David de Gea to Da­ley Blind or Chris Smalling and they gave a lot of pres­sure and we could not cope with that.

"That raised the at­mos­phere. They cre­ated chances, but we had a very good goal­keeper and be­cause of that we were [still] in the match."

Van Gaal de­scribed both Stur­ridge's 20thminute penalty, awarded af­ter Mem­phis Depay tugged back Nathaniel Clyne, and Firmino's late ef­fort, which stemmed from a loose Michael Car­rick clear­ance, as "cheap".

But he said that he had not seen a late in­ci­dent in which United mid­fielder Marouane Fel­laini ap­peared to catch Emre Can in the face with his el­bow.

Liverpool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp also re­fused to be drawn on the mat­ter. "There's noth­ing I should say," he said. "I'm not the ref­eree. You can write what you want, but with­out some­thing from my side."

The Ger­man was more ef­fu­sive about his team's per­for­mance, as­sert­ing with jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that their vic­tory had been "ab­so­lutely de­served". But while Liverpool will go into next week's re­turn leg in a strong po­si­tion to progress, he said that he did not want to lav­ish too much praise on his play­ers.

"I can re­ally cel­e­brate and I can be re­ally happy af­ter this and say it's the best and the great­est, but I don't want to set a limit," he said.

"We can play bet­ter. Even in the first half. Be­cause Manch­ester United didn't make too much pres­sure and we lost a lit­tle bit of pa­tience and played too risky passes, which was re­ally not nec­es­sary.

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