Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has normally been steadfast in defending his team, but following a listless display against Crystal Palace on Saturday, even he had to admit his side’s performance was concerning.
The Red Devils, like in many other matches this season, failed to create enough clear cut opportunities. However, their failure to dominate possession was more worrying.
Palace created the better chances of the match, with Yannick Bolasie striking the crossbar early on while Yohan Cabaye and Damien Delaney also spurned excellent chances.
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“We were not the better team today,” Van Gaal said, according to ESPN.
"When you are not creating so many chances you cannot complain. Against Middlesbrough, I thought we had chances to finish, so that is of more concern.
"But today we had no chances to win it."
Perhaps what is most frustrating for United fans is the slow and lethargic style of play their club have adopted. Gone are the days when the Old Trafford outfit would play swift, attacking football. Now, it has been replaced by methodical - yet boring - possession-based football.
Van Gaal's side have evidently struggled to perform under these tactics as their lack of goals suggests. The away fans at Selhurst Park were audibly aggrieved by the lack of attacking impetus, chanting “attack, attack, attack” amidst a match bereft of excitement.
The Dutchman has also raised eyebrows with his team selection, opting to play Anthony Martial out wide and Wayne Rooney up front. The ex-Barcelona manager is still unsure of Martial’s best position given his versatility.
"We don't know because at Monaco he played as a left winger," Van Gaal said. "We have to decide where he is best, and I have to think about the qualities of the opponents.
Whatever the case is, changes have to be made in preparation for their tough Champions League fixture against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday - and Van Gaal believes this match could be the turning point for a run of good form.
"When I see the characters, I don't think they have doubt about their quality. They need one match, and I hope that's against CSKA Moscow because we need the victory."
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