New manager Louis van Gaal is demanding improvement from his team.
WHAT VAN GAAL SAID
“That is not good enough for Manchester United. Our passing let us down, we need more creative passing. You need creative passing in the last third but our balls were not so good. We were dominating without creating chances. There were so many chances we didn’t create. And that’s disappointing. The players are very disappointed because we had thought we would win today but we have only one point. We are training every day in passing and kicking. But we have to improve and we have to work a lot.
“In the first half we played an equal match with Sunderland. We didn’t create so much but scored a fantastic goal. We played much better in the second half and could have created more, but in the last third we lacked creative passes and we gave away a lot of set-pieces and they scored from one, which is disappointing. Football is played for creating chances and making goals. We haven’t created so many chances today. We probably had more ball possession and were more dominant than the last match but you have to win your game at that moment and we couldn’t, so that’s a pity."
Louis van Gaal shakes the hand of Robin van Persie (Getty Images)
WHAT GUS POYET SAID
“It’s a different Manchester United. It’s strange to see them playing three at the back. The big thing for me is you have to have the right players to play that system. [Can this system bring the best out of Angel Di Maria?] I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Juan Mata, second from left, scores Manchester United's goal but Sunderland hit back to equalise
WHAT THEY SAID
Daniel Taylor, The Guardian: "The crest on the shirt is the same. The songs go to the same tune and in the closing moments, hunting a late winner, there was at least a flickered reminder of the old team. Yet this is not Manchester United as we know them. Not yet, anyway."
Mark Ogden, The Telegraph: "With so much of their recent success built on foundations laid by the likes of Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, Jaap Stam, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, United’s defence now appears as flimsy as a house of cards."
Oliver Kay, The Times: "In days gone by, a point gained at Manchester United’s expense would spark wild celebrations. At the Stadium of Light this afternoon, the final whistle brought applause from Sunderland’s supporters, but it was hard to escape the feeling that United might be the more grateful for this result, which brings their first point of Louis van Gaal’s tenure. United had been there for the taking."
Regardless of one's views on the way the team played, one cannot fault van Gaal's honesty and straightforwardness.
He is also heavily hinting to the powers-that-be that he'll need some money to secure the signings he wants if they want long-term success. Angel Di Maria is expected to join the club this week - but there were two other players Van Gaal mentioned a liking for in his post-match press conference. One - Lionel Messi - was presumably a joke; but the double namecheck for Arturo Vidal will reassure United fans that he's still in the hunt for the Juventus midfielder.
Either way, this result made clear that Van Gaal has plenty of work to do to restore United to their former glories.
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