Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has questioned his team’s will to win after their shock 0-3 thrashing in an English Premier league (EPL) clash at the hands of Arsenal.
Arsenal left United shell shocked by scoring thrice in a 19-minute blitzkrieg in the early stages of the game at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday which left van Gaal disgusted by the lack of aggression among his players.
“I didn’t expect that. I was surprised — not performing to our gameplan, not the will to win. I have not seen that when you are top of the league (as United were at the beginning of the weekend). So I was surprised, amazed — maybe that is a better word,” van Gaal told reporters after the game. “When you give a team like Arsenal so much space to play football, then you know you will lose. We prepared ourselves to play more compact and not losing our aggression, so it was amazing for me. I am very disappointed.”
Arsenal forward Alexis Sánchez tormented the visitors by finding the net on either side of Mesut Ozil’s goal. The defeat saw United lose their spot at the top of the EPL points table. They currently sit at the third spot while Arsenal have leapfrogged over them to the second position. Manchester City have regained the top spot after a 6-1 mauling of Newcastle United.
While blaming the entire team for the defeat, van Gaal pointed out that the defence and midfield were unable to hold their ground which allowed the Arsenal players to go on a rampage. “I don’t know why it happened. I put the question at half-time and after the match. It is difficult for the players to answer at the moment because they are all in an emotional moment. We have lost, and lost in a way that you cannot lose when you are top of the league,” the former Holland manager said. “The problems did not start at the back, they started in midfield. Their midfield players, especially Cazorla and Özil, had too much time and space. We also had space behind our defence. When you always put the pressure on, they cannot make their passes so easily. That was our problem in the first half,” he added. “They were not aggressive. And you have to do it not only with the two in midfield but as a team. You have to be more compact. You need aggression at the moment you have a duel and Arsenal were much more aggressive.”