By Coral Barry
Louis van Gaal has blamed West Brom for another stultifying Manchester United display.
Jesse Lingard’s debut goal for the club and Juan Mata’s late penalty gave the scoreline a convincing gloss but despite the 2-0 win over Tony Pulis’ team, this was another drab United display.
Manager Van Gaal, who had told fans yesterday to jeer him and not the players, claimed West Brom’s style of play prevented United from thrilling their home supporters.
“Everybody knows who has played football that the most difficult way to score is against a very defensive team,” said Van Gaal afterwards. “The space is only at the wings and we have tried to do that.
“The only way you can play against such a defensive, organised team is the way we do it, you need patience. In the second half West Brom are more tired and the chances come. The goal changed the game, we had more space. Then you can see the qualities of Anthony Martial, and we score the second goal out of his actions.”
United’s win lifts them to within one point of leaders Manchester City, although their bitter rivals have a match in hand, as do second-placed Arsenal.
Mata insists that Van Gaal and the players are keen to put on a show for supporters.
“Obviously we want to attack – sometimes you can’t because of the opponent,” said the Spaniard. “I think we played good football in the first half – in the second half we had problems.
“But it’s the perfect result going into the international break. We knew they would come and defend and then look for Salomon Rondon on the counter. We were patient enough.”