Scoreless and tasteless Manchester United – Chelsea clash
We expected goals, we expected a reaction from van Gaal’s men to finish off the year on a good note. On the other we expected the first touch from new coach Guus Hiddink. Both teams were too scared to lose and we got to watch a disappointed showdown.
The managers react after a boring afternoon
Man Utd coach van Gaal:
On the game and the result: “I think it was a very good performance but you have to score a goal and we didn’t. We hit the post twice when the keeper was beaten, then had a big chance in the second half and two penalty cases – one handball, one foul on Mata – but didn’t receive a penalty. So we are forcing the luck but still don’t have the luck we need. Against Stoke, I have said the first half we didn’t dare to play but that’s a big difference today – we dared to play and pressed a lot. We were the dominant team, we created chances, we shot on goal and only gave three chances away. Against a team like Chelsea, with such attackers, that’s not bad.”
On United’s fans: “They applauded the players, I presume, and they were enthusiastic. Of course, a lot of fans are disappointed because we need a win; I know that, the players know that, every member of staff knows that, the board knows that – even you know that. People are still applauding – not everyone, I have seen that also – but most of them. The most important thing is the players can do what they have done today, then the fans can be satisfied.”
On his future: “I cannot have any influence on that. I can only work with my players and you have seen that my players are fighting for me and that they have given a good performance. Even after this result, the fans were applauding, so I cannot say that I am very much concerned but in this football world, you never know. But I have full confidence in the board and in my players. When the players can give such a performance under this pressure, then it is not any reason to resign for me. Maybe the media wants that but I shall not do that. It’s not a question of staying, it’s a question of fulfilling my contract.”
Chelsea coach Hiddink:
‘The players have experienced a very bad half year. They have to lift it up and that’s what we have talked about in the locker room. Everyone is convinced we couldn’t go on on the same path and we have shown that in the last three games.
It’s normal to see the character and desire of the players but they have shown a lot ambition in the last three games. That’s what we are asking and automatically when everyone is on board hopefully then we can use the quality of the players as well.
I would have been more worried if there was a lack of confidence or ambition but I don’t see that at the moment in this team.’