Manchester: English football giants Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has brushed aside severe criticism from former players Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes after the 0-2 Europa League loss to Liverpool. Only goalkeeper David de Gea’s heroics on Thursday night avoided further humiliation for United, although he was beaten by a first half Daniel Sturridge penalty and a late close range strike from Roberto Firmino.
“It was shambolic … so bad,” Scholes was quoted as saying by The Guardian after the match on Thursday. “Tonight was a disaster. Liverpool had a way of playing. United? I didn’t have a clue what they were trying to do.” “United have spent 250 million pounds ($357 million) under Van Gaal … they are sixth in the Premier League and have ended up in the Europa League,” added Scholes.
Scholes said United should be up there playing with the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona in the Champions League. “They should be competing with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich (in the Champions League). United didn’t need a new philosophy, they had one for 20-odd years that worked,” he added in reference to the 38 major trophies won under Sir Alex Ferguson before he retired in 2013.
Ferdinand was equally scathing about Van Gaal’s side. “The fairytale has gone. The players he has let go, Angel Di Mara, Nani, Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck, Rafael, Darren Fletcher, are they worse than the players out there? They are better than that team out there today, that’s the problem,” he said.
However, van Gaal was in no mood to tolerate such remarks. “Is it important what Rio Ferdinand is saying, is that important to you?” he responded when asked about Ferdinand’s statement. “You don’t give your opinion and then you give Rio Ferdinand’s opinion – that is very strong of you. Of course Liverpool were the better team in the first half but in the second half we did a better match than before that.”
Van Gaal praised Liverpool’s defence and added that United could not create much opportunity upfront. “We did not cope with the high pressure of Liverpool. We had expected that and for me it was a surprise we did not cope with it because they did it at their home match this year. That raised the atmosphere in the stadium and they created big chances but we had a very good goalkeeper and because of that we were in the match.”
“I don’t think we were very creative in the third and fourth phase but it is also the defence of Liverpool and you can give credit for that to Liverpool. We have to improve a lot to create more goals,” van Gaal concluded.