Louis Van Gaal blamed the referees and his teams lack of focus as Manchester United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
[ VIDEO: United out of Europe ]
Losing 3-2 to Wolfsburg in Germany, United finished third in Group B and will now play in the Europa League as PSV Eindhoven beat CSKA Moscow to quality for the UCL’s last 16 alongside Wolfsburg.
LVG spoke to BT Sport after the game and blamed the officials not only on Jesse Lingard‘s disallowed goal in the first half which would’ve made it 2-2 — but Juan Mata was adjudged to be interfering with play from an offside position — but also throughout United’s group stage games as he brushed off suggestions the Red Devils should have won the group comfortably.
“You can say that we were the favorites but we were in a very tight group and all the results were like that. It is always 1-0 or 2-1,” van Gaal said. “I said it in advance but when you overview everything you remember the match against PSV with also the decisions of the referee and also today, there are decisions of the referee that are not positive for us. When it is a tight group then it can happen.”
[ MORE: Champions League standings ]
Asked specifically about the disallowed goal he was referring to on Tuesday, the Dutch coach criticized the referees further.
“When you see that as a linesman then you are very good,” van Gaal laughed. “When you first give it as a goal and then a few players come and say to you, then you change your mind, that is strange in my opinion. I don’t think the goalkeeper was interfered with by Mata because the ball is turning in the goal, I don’t think he can reach that ball. Of course he sees Mata in the offside position and takes the benefit of that.”
With United now heading for the Europa League and Thursday night soccer, LVG’s side will have to pick themselves up and deal with plenty of Sunday games in 2016 if they make a deep run in that competition, which will no doubt impact their already shaky form in the Premier League.
The man who has spent over $375 million on new players over the last 18 months admitted he’s not even thought about European soccer’s second-tier club tournament and is disappointed his team can’t showcase their talent on the biggest stage after they fought so hard last season to get back into the top four and among Europe’s elite.
“No, I haven’t thought about that at this moment,’ van Gaal said of the Europa League. “I am very disappointed, the players are very disappointed. This is the league where we want to show our qualities and we cannot do that anymore.”