Louis van Gaal again calls his team “not good enough” after another listless offensive output

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A week ago Louis van Gaal said he needed “better players” following the team’s defeat to Swansea in their season opener at Old Trafford.

Following their 1-1 draw with Sunderland where the squad looked disjointed at best, van Gaal was at it again, this time singling out his midfield for their listless play.

“You have to recognize the fight of the opponent,” van Gaal said in the postmatch presser. “We have reached Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie a lot of times, but after that you need the support of the midfielders, and the combination was not good enough.”

The Dutch manager’s new 3-5-2 system is supposed to be focused on more attacking play, and that was his focus after the club held the majority of possession.

“The purpose of the game is to create more chances and score goals,” he said. “We haven’t created more chances, but in the second half we were more dominant than we were against Swansea. That’s a plus, but we have to create more from that dominance.”

This revelation – which was, in all honesty, quite clear throughout the match – comes on the heels of news that Manchester United has agreed to a Premier League record fee to bring in Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid as a creative talisman to partner with Rooney and van Persie, something meant to fix exactly this problem.

When asked about Di Maria after the match, van Gaal tried to play it cool. “I think always the club has to announce [a transfer] and when we are thinking it’s the right time for a transfer then we come to you and say, ‘OK, we have bought that player or the other player,’ but at this time we cannot say anything.

“I like [Lionel] Messi also. I like [Arturo] Vidal also. We have a lot of players in this world that I like but they cannot come always to Manchester United.”

Van Gaal thought his side twice earned a penalty in the span of about 10 seconds, but both were waved off and Ashley Young was booked for diving.

“The only reason to give a penalty is when the opponent touches the leg of a player. Van Persie and Young were touched. Young lifted the ball across the opponent and he was touched by the opponent.

Again though, van Gaal blamed his own team.

“The referee can give a penalty, but we don’t have to talk too much about that. We can talk about our passing game which was not good enough.”

United are under immense pressure to make a return to the Champions League next season after finishing 7th in the table last campaign.  However, the club has just one point through its first two matches.

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

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In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

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While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad — 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse — 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria — 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin — 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya — 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal — 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva — 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim — 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka — 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon — 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha — 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin — 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys — 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET