Van Gaal questions ref, says defence is not weak

Date published: Wednesday 13th January 2016 10:14

Louis van Gaal bored

Louis van Gaal says Manchester United “were unlucky” in terms of the referee’s decision against Newcastle, who he praised for not wasting time.

United were held to a pulsating 3-3 draw at St James’ Park against their relegation battling hosts, with Newcastle coming from 2-0 down and 3-2 down to secure a last-minute draw.

Van Gaal’s side had numerous chances to win the game, but also faced plenty of pressure from a rallying Newcastle outfit as the game wore on.

Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised from a contentious penalty awarded by Mike Dean to make it 2-2, before Paul Dummett’s late deflected strike cancelled out Wayne Rooney’s second of the evening.

Van Gaal questioned that penalty decision – as well as Newcastle’s perceived time-wasting – but admitted that he and his players deserved much of the blame for failing to earn all three points.

“Of course it feels like a defeat … we are very disappointed, we’ve lost very expensive points,” said the United boss.

“We have only ourselves to blame because we could have won this match. We missed big chances to win it. We were the better team. We have scored three goals but only have one point. So now is the defence weak? No. We were unlucky in decisions of the referee and a deflected shot and we did not finish our chances.

“We have given it away. I have told that to my players. When the referee gives a penalty for nothing – it is a duel I think and you cannot decide who is worse – but we gave it away.

“Newcastle only wanted to attack. You see two teams who want to attack. We saw a fantastic game tonight.”

Van Gaal added that his side usually face opponents who waste time during matches, but that Newcastle were different.

“Only one team wants to waste time and frustrate opponents.”

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