Van Gaal unhappy despite United win
Louis van Gaal said it was "fantastic" to manage Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time but branded the 2-1 win over Valencia their worst preseason performance so far, criticising his players for making a series of poor choices.
- Payne: Van Gaal looking to restore aura
Substitute Marouane Fellaini scored a last-minute winner -- his first goal in a United shirt -- to give them a sixth win from as many attempts under Van Gaal, but the Dutchman feels his new charges must improve their decision-making.
"We have won in spite of that we have played our worst game," the 62-year-old told MUTV. "We made a lot of wrong choices, wrong passes and we didn't press too much."
Van Gaal was happier with the spirit United showed. While Wayne Rooney hit the post with a penalty, Darren Fletcher put them ahead and, after Rodrigo Moreno equalised for Valencia, Fellaini came off the bench to score in his first appearance under Van Gaal.
Free to play: ESPN FC Premier League fantasy
- Q&A: Why you need to reselect your fantasy squad
- Sign up for our new game and challenge your friends
- How to play the game -- fantasy rules in full
- Transfers: Check out the latest Premier League moves
- Fantasy Forum: Discuss your team and tactics
"We have dominated the game, only in 15 minutes in the second half we are not dominating, I think, and at the end we are the winner because we are fighting until the last minute and that is also a good signal, I believe," the manager continued.
United kick off their Premier League campaign against Swansea on Saturday and Van Gaal is concerned he will be without central defender Jonny Evans and wing-backs Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia, who all missed the Tuesday's game.
"I think we have a lot of injuries now," he added. "Evans was injured, Shaw was injured, Valencia was injured and they are three defenders so we have to wait and see if they can play on Saturday."
Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj, both part of the Belgium squad that reached the last eight of the World Cup, came on for the final quarter of an hour, but Van Gaal said the duo are not yet fit enough to play any longer.
"Fellaini and Januzaj have only [had] one week, one-and-a half weeks to train with us so they cannot make more minutes," he said.
Van Gaal was given a rapturous reception when he emerged before kick-off and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager, who again warned he cannot fix all the problems at United quickly, thanked the supporters.
"Fantastic," he added of the experience. "I come on the pitch and they are shouting and screaming your name. It is also a big pressure because they expect a lot and you cannot change everything in three or four weeks and the players cannot change either so we have to wait and see and develop and we need time but we have won every game until now and that is fantastic."
United defender Phil Jones was glad of the test that Los Che offered at Old Trafford, particularly given that the squad are still adapting to Van Gaal's new 3-4-1-2 system.
"It was a great game for us to test ourselves against a top Valencia team," Jones said. "At times they caused us a few problems but we worked well and battled well. We could've played better in stages but we deserved to win.
"It's been a great preseason for us. We're learning a new system, we're still learning but we're enjoying it. We've capped off a good preseason and we're looking forward to the start of the season now.
"It's the boss's first game here and the first game for a few of the young lads too. I thought they were terrific tonight and that only stands us in good stead for the season."
Information from the Press Association was used in this article.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEWS
As we count down to kickoff on Aug. 16, ESPN FC previews all 20 teams in this season's competition. Can Burnley, QPR and Leicester stay up? Will the new signings of Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Adam Lallana help usurp Man City's crown? Will Manchester United get back on track under Louis van Gaal?