Louis van Gaal is perplexed by Manchester United’s current inability to see games out in the second half from a comfortable position.
United’s last three games have seen a two goal lead turn into a three goal deficit against Leicester City while games against West Ham and Everton saw United with their backs to the wall holding onto a lead against a late barrage of attacks.
In all three matches, United were in total control during the first 45 minutes but the team is switching off in the second half, something Van Gaal is keen to address.
“I was very pleased with the performance in the first-half but I wasn’t pleased with the second-half,” he said.
“We lost our heads and our organisation wasn’t as good.
“Everton benefited from that and could have scored, it was only because of David de Gea that we managed to win the game.
“It’s a little bit strange that every time the first half is very good, we start very good.
“We have created a lot of chances and I think in the first half we could have been 3-0 at half-time and Everton didn’t create much, but the second half was so different.”
Be it fitness levels, nerves, personnel, co-ordination or concentration, United’s sloppy second performances need to improve. If United can start replicating their first half performances in the second, then there could be goals galore.
It’s the right sort of problem for Van Gaal to have. He doesn’t have a team who aren’t playing great football, he just needs to make them more consistent over the full 90 minutes.
Van Gaal has bemoaned his squad for being so attack minded that keeping possession becomes sloppy and one player who could make a huge difference to that is the return of Michael Carrick. He’d be the perfect player to slow the game down and improve ball retention, something United haven’t been able to do so far this season.
United have improved since the defeat against Leicester and are certainly showing signs of getting better with every performance, so the side could start looking fantastic all of a sudden if that consistency over 90 minutes can be found.