Louis van Gaal believes both of Liverpool’s goals “were cheap” on Thursday, but his Manchester United side “couldn’t cope”.
United were easily beaten 2-0 in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 clash with their bitter rivals on Thursday, and the defeat could have been heavier were it not for visiting goalkeeper David De Gea.
Before addressing criticism from former players Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand after the game, Van Gaal turned his attention to the referee at Anfield.
Controversy surrounded Spanish official Carlos Velasco Carballo’s decision to award Nathaniel Clyne a first-half penalty after being felled in the area by Memphis Depay, although replays showed that contact was both made, and inside the box.
Liverpool scored the subsequent penalty through Daniel Sturridge, and doubled their lead in the second half when Roberto Firmino fired home from Adam Lallana’s cutback. However, Jordan Henderson was marginally offside in the build-up.
“If you are sharp enough to see the penalty in the first half I think you have to be sharp enough to see the offside in the second,” Van Gaal said. “It was a nasty goal to give away. Liverpool deserved their win, but both their goals were cheap.”
Van Gaal then admitted: “We could not cope with Liverpool’s high pressing, they did that very well.
“In previous games we have been able to build from the back but on this occasion we could not get it going. We did not create many chances and Liverpool created big ones, so I do not deny the performance was disappointing, but we still have a chance in the second leg if we can create an atmosphere at Old Trafford like the one at Anfield.”