Van Gaal: It’s difficult to play for United
Angry fans’ cries to attack not helping the likes of Rooney find the back of the net No home distractions keeps Pirates on course
THE chorus of disapproval that strikes up every time Manchester United struggle to find the net is having a negative effect on the players, manager Louis van Gaal said yesterday.
Three consecutive 0-0 draws preceded Tuesday’s home clash with CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and fans voiced their displeasure as Van Gaal’s side toiled to break down the Russians before captain Wayne Rooney’s late winner ended a 404- minute stretch without scoring.
United have scored only 15 goals in 11 Premier League games, the lowest total of the top seven, and need a victory at home to West Bromwich Albion today to maintain the pressure on leaders Manchester City and Arsenal.
Speaking yesterday at a news conference, the Dutch- EPL Fixtures TODAY Bournemouth v Newcastle United, Vitality Stadium, 2.45pm West Ham United v Everton, Boleyn Ground, 5pm Sunderland v Southampton, Stadium of Light, 5pm Norwich City v Swansea City, Carrow Road, 5pm Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion, Old Trafford, 5pm Leicester City v Watford, King Power Stadium, 5pm Stoke City v Chelsea, Britannia Stadium, 7.30pm TOMORROW Aston Villa v Manchester City, Villa Park, 3.30pm Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Anfield, 6pm Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur, Emirates Stadium, 6pm man said the fans should direct their ire at him, not the players.
“It’s very difficult to play for Manchester United with a lot of pressure and you can taste that in Old Trafford because of all the yelling, so it’s better to whistle the manager, I can cope with it.”
United were well known for their attacking verve under former manager Sir Alex Fergu- ORLANDO PIRATES assistant coach Tehogo Moloi has revealed the secret to the club’s changing fortunes following back-to-back PSL wins – one against Kaizer Chiefs and then away to Ajax Cape Town four days later – for the first time since March.
Moloi is desperate to see the winning streak continue this afternoon when the Buccaneers face rivals Chiefs for a second successive weekend, in the semi-final of the Telkom Knockout at the FNB Stadium.
The Sea Robbers won last week’s league derby 3-1 thanks to goals from Issa Sarr, Ayanda Gcaba and Thamsanqa Gabuza, while Eric Mathoho got Amakhosi’s only strike.
“We were in camp a little bit longer than usual because the players only had Sunday and Monday off before we met son but under Van Gaal they have struggled to turn possession into chances.
Against CSKA in midweek the fans shouted “attack, attack” and jeered when Van Gaal took off French striker Anthony Martial and brought on Marouane Fellaini in his place.
“I think we have attacked again after the derby to face Ajax,” Moloi, who is coach Eric Tinkler’s second in command, said.
“This is usually what works for us when we play in the continent (the CAF Confederation Cup, where they have reached the final). The players are forced to look out for one another and they are in an environment where no one knows who they are.
“But that changes as soon as we get home because, and we have to admit, our players embrace their extravagant lifestyles.”
It wasn’t just the mere fact that Pirates won two league matches in a row for the first time in eight months, but the compelling manner in which they brushed Chiefs aside.
Ajax put up a bit of a fight in the Mother City on Wednesday but even with a weakened side following Tinkler’s decision to for 85 minutes of the 90 against CSKA so we have given a lot of entertainment,” Van Gaal said.
“It is about goals. It is difficult to disorganise the teams with 10 men behind the ball. If two teams attack it is easier.”
He also suggested United had “made history” by beating CSKA.
“CSKA played last year rest some of his key men, the Buccaneers were worth the three points in a 2-1 triumph.
“It is tempting to have the players around each other much longer before we play, but we are well aware of the challenges to pull it off. They can easily come up with excuses to go out, like wanting to see their families or going to the bank,” Moloi said. “There’s none of that when we are travelling in the continent. Their heads are in the right frame of mind and they are entirely focused.
“And at home, they hear and read a lot about what is being said about them in the papers. They have often allowed that to affect them.”
That offers an insight into why Pirates were so determined against Ajax. But what about the league derby prior to having to fly to Cape Town?
“When we are written off, we come up with results,” against Manchester City at home and they won,” he said.
“Even in the golden age of Manchester United they could not win at home –- a lucky 3-3 at Old Trafford, so we have made history.”
Van Gaal hopes Morgan Schneiderlin will be available to face West Brom, although Matteo Darmian is suspended. Moloi said.
“We asked the players not to read too much into the criticism and we knew that the derby itself was a motivator.
“I think it is clear that our players also have big- match temperament but some how, in our other domestic games, fatigue creeps in and there’s a mental shift. Whether they win or lose, they retreat into their own little cocoon.”
Pirates players – and their Chiefs counterparts – disperse for national duty soon after the derby, until both teams are back in action on November 21, with the Buccaneers hosting Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel in the first leg of the Confederation Cup final.
If indeed Tinkler and Moloi have finally put their fingers on what makes the squad tick, then why not find a sanctuary ahead of this weekend’s massive encounter?
● Aston Villa’s new manager Remi Garde believes he can reverse his side’s wretched run and lift them off the bottom of the Premier League, but stopped short of guaranteeing their top-flight survival. Villa began the season by beating Bournemouth but have since lost nine of 10 league games, including their last seven, a run that resulted in the club parting company with Garde’s predecessor, Tim Sherwood, last month.
Villa, ever present in the Premier League since its creation in 1992, announced that 49-year-old former Olympique Lyonnais coach Garde had signed a four-year contract on Monday.
Garde said fans should not expect miracles.
“I’m not a dreamer or a magic man,,” he said ahead of his first game in charge, against leaders Manchester City tomorrow.
“I haven’t the certainty we will stay in the Premier League but I have a strong belief we will do it.” – Reuters
IT TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH: Wayne Rooney celebrates breaking his goal drought against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
LOWDOWN: Assistant coach Tehogo Moloi says continental lessons are helping Pirates.
STEVE KOMPHELA: ‘We need to concentrate more’