Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted he tore into his under-performing players at half-time of last night's 0-0 draw with League Two minnows Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium, but also took something of a cheapshot at referee Chris Foy.
Van Gaal's side struggled desperately to create clear-cut opportunities in the FA Cup fourth-round tire, particularly in a hugely disappointing first-half display.
Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and co. couldn't break the deadlock late on and must now deal with the inconvenience of a replay at Old Trafford next month, but despite admitting his players were below par the excuses were also out in force.
The Dutchman blamed official Foy, the pitch, the conditions and the opposition in his post-match interview with the Mirror, but it's unlikely any of those concessions with sit well with a contingent of United fans who are growing more frustrated with a lack of style and drive in recent weeks.
Excuses likely won't wash
Van Gaal said: “Everything is against us. Of course it is frustrating. We made the same error as against Yeovil Town and against QPR, we did the same playing style more or less in the first half.
“Then I had to be angry again. In the second half we did much better and we are not out of the Cup. That is the most important thing.
Article continues below
Was everything against them?
"Then you have seen the referee. It’s always the same. Everywhere I have coached these games and I have coached these games with other clubs. You can give your own opinion on the referee. I cannot give you mine.
“We know everything is against us. But to win you have to survive and I know also what I’ve already said that attacking is much more difficult than defending.”
Close to full strength
Red Devils skipper Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata were rested last night, but take those two out of the picture and it was virtually a full-strength United side who fired a blank against a side sitting 12th in the fourth tier of English football.
The magic of the cup was certainly on show at the Abbey Stadium last night, for just about everyone but Van Gaal as he ponders what changes need to be made to a United squad that continues to deliver performances below expectation under his leadership.