Van Gaal ‘not an­gry’ af­ter ManU Europa League exit

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Manch­ester United man­ager Louis van Gaal urged his play­ers to put the dis­ap­point­ment of Europa League elim­i­na­tion by Liverpool be­hind them by de­feat­ing Manch­ester City in this week­end's derby.

United were knocked out of the Europa League in the last 16 af­ter a 1-1 draw at home to their arch-ri­vals on Thurs­day con­demned them to a 3-1 ag­gre­gate de­feat.

Their exit cut off one po­ten­tial av­enue to Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball next sea­son and with United four points be­hind City, who oc­cupy the fourth and fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing berth in the Premier League, Van Gaal knows that de­feat at the Eti­had Sta­dium on Sun­day could be fa­tal.

"We have to beat Manch­ester City be­cause that is the other chance to qual­ify our­selves for the Cham­pi­ons League," he told his post-match press con­fer­ence at Old Traf­ford.

With the FA Cup now the only com­pe­ti­tion United can win, Van Gaal was asked if fail­ure to over­come Liverpool had in­creased the pres­sure on both him and his team.

"The pres­sure was also to­day," the em­bat­tled Dutch­man replied. "Manch­ester United al­ways has pres­sure. The ex­pec­ta­tions are al­ways high. The pres­sure for th­ese play­ers is al­ways very high. We know that and we can cope with that. But we were not lucky to­day (Thurs­day)." Trail­ing 2-0 af­ter last week's onesided first leg at An­field, United halved Liverpool's ag­gre­gate deficit in the 32nd minute when An­thony Mar­tial lured Nathaniel Clyne into a rash foul and scored the re­sult­ing penalty.

But Philippe Coutinho re­stored Liverpool's two-goal cush­ion on the stroke of half-time with a goal that man­ager Jur­gen Klopp de­scribed as "ge­nius" - the Brazil­ian leav­ing Guillermo Varela for dead and then dink­ing a shot past United goal­keeper David de Gea at his near post. The game's clos­ing stages played out to a sound­track of crow­ing chants from the away fans, but Van Gaal felt that his team had dom­i­nated to the same ex­tent that Liverpool had in the first leg.

"We have played like Liverpool played in the home match with us," said the United man­ager, who was pre­sid­ing over his 150th Euro­pean game. "We have done that with them. We have cre­ated a lot of chances. We scored a penalty. (Jesse) Lin­gard, (Juan) Mata, (Marouane) Fel­laini, Mar­tial (had chances), and then you con­cede one goal in the last sec­onds.

"That's what we did not do in Liverpool. They scored the away goal and that was the dif­fer­ence." He added: "I am not an­gry, I am not frus­trated. I was very proud of my play­ers. They have given ev­ery­thing.

"I was very pleased the fans also recog­nised that be­cause they ap­plauded af­ter the match in spite of (the fact) we are out of the Euro League. That was re­mark­able, I think."

While Van Gaal braced him­self for more in­quests about his United ste­ward­ship, Klopp re­mains on course to fin­ish his first sea­son at Liverpool with a tro­phy in his hands.

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