The Reds struggled to create chances and only had two shots on target in the FA Cup tie, one of which was Wayne Rooney‘s 93rd minute penalty which won the game for Man United. The fact that George Long in the Sheffield United goal had only one save to make highlighted the dire nature of United’s performance but van Gaal chose to focus on the other end of the pitch instead.
David de Gea was a mere spectator as Chris Smalling and Daley Blind comfortably dealt with the little threat posed by the Sheffield United forwards and the manager moved to showcase the job done by his back four.
Speaking after the game, van Gaal said: “We can improve but how many chances have Sheffield United created? No one is talking about that. Everyone is talking about the fantastic defence of Sheffield United.”
It could be seen as a sign of what things have come to at Old Trafford, with the Dutchman finding pride in keeping a clean sheet against League One opposition. United have never been a club who settle for mediocrity and the performance in the third round of the cup was certainly below average.
Van Gaal’s comments are an indication of his aspirations for this current United side as they continue to struggle to set the world alight in the final third. United are renowned for their attacking play and their high tempo, something that is non-existent under van Gaal, and his focus on the defence has proved once again that he may not be the man for the job.