Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal spulled no punches when describing his squad’s failures on Saturday, with a team that appeared resurgent during its preseason falling to Swansea City 2-1 in the new boss’s competitive debut.
“I have seen in the first half a lot of players very nervous, making the wrong choices,” van Gaal explained, “and that is a pity.”
A 72nd minute goal from midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson gave Swans an opening weekend win over United for the second year running, serving as the tiebreaker after Ki Sung-Yeung and Wayne Rooney got their teams on the board.
After the game, Van Gaal was not shy about expressing his disappointment.
“It is not good because we have built up a lot of confidence and it shall be smashed down because of this result,” the Dutch boss told the media before offering a blunt assessment of his squad’s quality and performance. From The Guardian:
“[Lack of quality] is not a question because I knew that before this game. Of course we need defenders. It is also the question if we can play like a team and if we can reach the [right] level. Today, we didn’t reach that level. When you don’t play like a team, when you miss the chances, it is very difficult because every team shall create chances against us because we are playing with a big space behind us.
As van Gaal also noted, it’s only one game, saying “you shall not be the champion at this moment, you shall be the champion in May.”
For a United side many expect will resume a place in the top four, initial returns show a team with a long way to go.