Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was happy with his club’s performance at Old Trafford against the league leaders and title favorites, but he knows they have much more to offer.
The Red Devils needed a last-gasp equalizer from Robin van Persie after Branislav Ivanovic was sent off in order to snatch a point, but the home side was in the match the whole way and played an especially good first half.
It’s that which causes van Gaal to believe his team can
“We created a lot of chances, but we have to finish them. I’m happy with our spirit,” said Van Gaal in his postmatch press conference. “We showed again that we believe that we can score until the end.”
“In the 10 minutes after the [Chelsea] goal, we kept together again and we deserved the last goal I believe.”
The belief is nice, but the Manchester United boss believes it’s only the beginning.
“I see that we could have won against Chelsea. I’m saying that nearly every game, but that’s a good sign I think because Chelsea is top-level and we were at least equal.”
He blamed a mix-up at the back for the Chelsea goal, which saw the 5’8 Rafael marking focal point striker Didier Drogba.
“It was a mix of communication between [Marouane] Fellaini and Rafael, and they came at that moment with an extra man and Daley Blind has to join in, and we have forgotten at that time.”
But ultimately, the fight was something that van Gaal was pleased about.
“I think that we are showing again that we are believing until the end in making a goal, in spite of a bad result,” Van Gaal claimed. “Also against West Bromwich Albion, in spite of creating a lot of chances, [we found ourselves] 2-1 behind, and also today 1-0 behind, it’s fantastic that players are running until the 90th minute to equalize or to win, and that is the best of what I have seen today.”
Finally, when asked if the game felt like a win instead of a draw because of how it played out, van Gaal remained pragmatic.
“I have the feeling that I have said to the players, that we could have won, but nevertheless we don’t win, and that’s our fault, not the fault of the opponent. But when you can do that against the best team in this league at the moment, it’s also a good sign.”