Man United went ahead early through Memphis Depay‘s well-taken volley, but struggled to take advantage of a shaky Watford defence.
Jesse Lingard missed two fantastic chances to further his side’s advantage, while several Watford mistakes went unpunished by poor decision making. However, Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s acute injury finish ensured United came away with all three points.
Regardless, van Gaal was critical of his side’s attacking ennui after the game.
“I think we didn’t play so good offensively,” van Gaal told MUTV.
“We created a lot of chances and we could have finished the game much earlier when you saw the chances that Jesse Lingard had.
“We didn’t play so well in ball possession, but we did play very well when the opposition had the ball. We didn’t give away many chances and also the penalty, but I expect better than today of our positional game.”
The second half saw the Dutchman’s side revert to their usual attacking impotency, with United’s stagnancy seemingly spurring the home side on.
However, van Gaal’s comments can be seen as harsh; United showed sustained conviction in the opening stages, allowing the home side no time on the ball. And, almost immediately after going behind, a fresh attacking onslaught began, culminating in a dramatic late winner.