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Louis Van Gaal Criticises Manchester United After Valencia Friendly Victory

Manchester United's new manager Louis van Gaal, centre,  takes to the touchline before his team's pre season friendly soccer match against Valencia at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Tuesday Aug. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press
Rob BlanchetteFeatured Columnist IVNovember 30, 2016

Louis van Gaal's first match in charge of Manchester United at Old Trafford ended in a stoppage-time victory for the Red Devils over Valencia, but prompted the Dutchman to criticise his team after the final whistle.

The new boss was his normal straight-talking self when asked about United's performance, saying his side produced their "worst game" of preseason, per Chris Wheeler of the Mail Online.

Wheeler quotes the former Netherlands coach saying:

We made a lot of wrong choices, wrong passes and we didn’t press too much. We have to choose better the right time to pass the ball. We haven’t done that and that is a pity. It’s a big pressure because the fans expect a lot, but you cannot change everything in three or four weeks and the players cannot change either.

United won their final pre-season match with a goal from the heavily criticised Marouane Fellaini, who came on as a substitute and played an impressive cameo in the victory.

The Reds had taken the lead early in the second half after a strike from new vice-captain, Darren Fletcher, only for the La Liga side to equalise on 71 minutes.

But Fellaini came up with the winner with the last kick of the match with an impressive chest control and finish to seal the win.

Tony Barrett of The Times commented on the game via Twitter, including the post-match news of Wayne Rooney's appointment as club captain:

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United in action during the Pre Season Friendly match between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford on August 12, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Imag
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The big Belgium international looked a completely different player in Van Gaal's 5-3-2 system, looking mobile both on and off the ball, and breaking into attacking areas when possible.

It was a far cry from a player that suffered hugely under David Moyes last year and there could be hope for a successful season for Fellaini. LvG will be highly impressed from what he saw from the former Everton man.

But the match was United's poorest of a preseason schedule which has seen the Red Devils defeat both Real Madrid and Liverpool, and a host of luminaries. United start their new Premier League campaign with a 100 percent win record in their preparations. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12 Tyler Blackett of Manchester United in action during the Pre Season Friendly match between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford on August 12, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The game on Tuesday night also saw burgeoning young talents Reece James and Manchester-born Tyler Blackett play 90 minutes in United's defence with both players showing their potential for the season ahead.

James featured because of injuries to Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia, with Blackett filling in for Jonny Evans.

And it was Blackett who claimed the assist for Fellaini's winner with a looping last-minute cross into the box from the left-hand side. 

Both will surely be retained for the season ahead rather than be allowed to leave on loan, but they could be sent away to gain further experience should Van Gaal make a defensive capture before the end of the transfer window.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal with his coach Ryan Giggs on the bench as he makes his home debut during the Pre Season Friendly match between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford on August 12, 2014 in
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

United fans will be buoyant after witnessing LvG's earliest days in charge of United but no one will be foolish enough to believe that the post-Moyes rebuilding is anywhere near complete. United are still short of a utility defender who can play across the back five, with Van Gaal touted to make a move for Argentina international Marcos Rojo, per Teddy Cutler of The Independent. 

Rojo would bring a physical element to United's defence and add competition to Shaw, who potentially may take some time to settle into his new environment. 

United also need a world-class midfield operator in their ranks, with the likelihood of Arturo Vidal's arrival lessening with the player's appearance on Juventus' pre-season tour. If Vidal is not captured, LvG will need to add a player who can control the central core of the team with Ander Herrera, otherwise Premier League opponents will carve their way through the heart of the Red Devils' side with too much ease. 

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