Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United were deserved winners against Liverpool on Sunday, but calls for improvements in subsequent games.
Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie were among the goal scorers for the ‘Red Devils,’ who won their sixth consecutive match for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season. Goalkeeper David De Gea provided another Man-of-the-Match performance, fluffing eight good chances of the opponents’ ensuring a clean sheet.
“Today, I thought we were the better team, and we deserved to win,” Van Gaal, 63, told Sky Sports in his post-match press conference at Old Trafford.
“So, it wasn’t the same as the Southampton game – we pressed more from the front, and that was the key. It’s a process. It’s important that we win the games, because it makes the players believe in the philosophy.”
United’s passing game again fell short of the Dutch boss’ expectation having watched his side give up possession so often during the proceedings. De Gea stole the headlines for obvious reasons but Van Gaal was unhappy that his goalkeeper was exposed to a barrage of Liverpool’s attack.
“There was a lot of space out there, but we still gave the ball away, so I’ll speak to the players about that when we evaluate the game tomorrow. But, we have to improve and I’m saying that to them every week,” he noted.
“When that’s no longer the case, I’ll be pleased. I hope [this win provides a platform], but now Aston Villa becomes our most important match. Every game in this league is difficult to win.”
Liverpool could have won
Liverpool got off to a good start, taking the game to their opponents in both periods of the game, but lacked urgency in the face of goal.
The ‘Reds’ created a lot of chances, with Raheem Sterling and second-half substitute Mario Balotelli in particular finding themselves at the mercy of De Gea’s terrific form.
“We won here 3-0 last year and probably didn’t even create half of the opportunities. For the goalkeeper to get man of the match tells you everything,” the Anfield club manager Brendan Rodgers said.
“It was a side of the game I was looking for the team to improve on – we created more chances today than what we have done for maybe five or six games, so I was pleased with that aspect but obviously disappointed with the first and third goals we conceded.
“You come here and create so many chances, you’d expect to score at least two or three of those, but it wasn’t to be. The players kept going and they gave everything into the game, but we just couldn’t find the goal that could get us back into the game.”