Van Gaal: Lack of Aggression Cost United against Villa

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Louis van Gaal was left “frustrated” after his side’s fragile showing of attacking intent in Saturday’s 1-1 draw away at ten-man Aston Villa.

Christian Benteke pulled the hosts ahead against the run of play after 18 minutes, only for Radamel Falcao’s header 8 minutes into the second half to salvage a solitary point for United.

Villa finished the match with ten men after Gabriel Agbonlahor was brought down for a rash tackle on his former team-mate Ashley Young but Van Gaal’s men could not build on their 6-game winning run, however, remain in third position; seven points behind joint leaders Manchester City and Chelsea, who will be up against Stoke City on Monday.

Louis van Gaal Watches in Frustration as Man Utd Drop Points against Astin Villa. Image: Getty.
Louis van Gaal Watches in Frustration as Man Utd Drop Points against Astin Villa. Image: Getty.

“It’s always important not to lose but I am frustrated because we gave two points away and that is my feeling of this match,” Van Gaal told MUTV after the match.

United started the match in the Dutch boss’ favoured three-man defence line, which was changed at the interval due to lack of fluid movement between the midfield and the forward line. A change at the break allowed Michael Carrick shift from the defence into central midfield, at whose point the ‘Red Devils’ began probing with purpose.

Van Gaal felt his team needed more aggression to beat a resolute Villa defense, which remained well organised in spite the latter numerical disadvantage.

“We have had a lack of aggression in the first half, I think at that time we were much better. We kept the ball very well but didn’t do too much with it. We didn’t create many chances in the first half,” the 63-year-old said.

“Because of the lack of aggression we were losing 1-0 and then we changed that attitude in the second half. We did everything to win but it is very difficult. I have to say that Aston Villa did very well also.

“With Carrick you have more passes to the strikers and that was needed which is why I changed Darren [Fletcher] for [Tyler Blackett] and put Michael in midfield, but I could have changed a lot of players because I think that it is the first demand that we are aggressive.”

Falcao scored his first goal since his match-winner against Everton in his previous start on October 5.

Van Gaal added: “It was a fantastic goal and I am very happy for Falcao because he needed that, but I am always happy when Manchester United score!”

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