| Louis van Gaal
London: Louis van Gaal delivered a damning indictment of Manchester United’s remarkable fall from grace by claiming that he was not shocked by the club’s 0-4 Capital One Cup humiliation by MK Dons.
United, having entered the competition at the second round stage for the first time since 1995 following their failure to secure European football this season, suffered their most embarrassing defeat in the tournament since being humbled 0-3 at Old Trafford by York City 19 years ago.
But despite the ignominy of the defeat, which extended Van Gaal’s wait for his first competitive victory as United manager, the Dutchman insisted that the outcome was no surprise. “I’m not shocked because I know what can happen,” Van Gaal said. “I thought MK Dons played very well — they were aggressive and they had also had a little bit of luck.”
When asked if he could understand that the club’s supporters would be surprised by his admission, Van Gaal called for patience and suggested it could take a year to turn the club around. “That is another question,” Van Gaal said. “Yes, it is very difficult when you start as a manger in the Premier League with a home match loss and after that a draw [at Sunderland] and then you lose in a cup match.
“It is difficult for the fans to believe in philosophy of Louis van Gaal, but you have to do that because I am here to build up a new team and a new team is not built in one month.
“We are building a team which we cannot make in one month or even one year. It is very disappointing, but I hope they maintain their confidence in our club. We know exactly what we are doing. We have lost in the Capital One Cup, so it has cost us the chance of a trophy, and that is disappointing.”
On the day that United broke the British transfer record by completing the £59.7million signing of Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria, Van Gaal turned to the club’s youngsters and fringe players for the fixture against a team lying in seventh position in League One.
Although Van Gaal’s starting line-up included five full internationals, United were rarely in the game, but the manager defended his decision to make 10 changes from the team who drew against Sunderland.
“We have played the match when we had nine injuries and we have played within 48 hours (of our last game,)” Van Gaal said. “So I don’t think I can play with the squad I used on Sunday. I have to look at the second team and youth education and then we played this match.
“But we made errors building up situations in the first phase and, when you make errors like that, you give the match away.
“At half time, I am a coach who is always taking risks. I always want to win the match and when you are thinking that you have to win, you have to take risks.
“I changed the way we played in the first half. We played one versus one over the whole pitch and when you see that we created a lot of chances, but we were not lucky.
“Then we had another building-up error in the first phase and they score again. After that, it is very difficult because you cannot go back any more and then you give spaces away, so you can expect also 0-3, 0-4. I played a young team of course. I’m disappointed, but I can analyse this.”
With United’s youngsters struggling to cope with MK Dons commitment — Van Gaal handed debuts to Saidy Janko and Marnick Vermijl — the more experienced players in the team failed to deliver.