• Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United, Premier League

Van Gaal concerned by United's lack of creativity

ESPN staff
August 24, 2014
Louis van Gaal said his Manchester United midfield lacked creativity - on the same day the club reportedly agreed a fee for Angel di Maria © PA Photos

Louis van Gaal says Manchester United's midfield was "not good enough" during their unconvincing 1-1 draw at Sunderland, on a day the club moved closer to securing the services of Angel di Maria.

Van Gaal is still awaiting his first Premier League victory as United manager and, following Sunday's stalemate at the Stadium of Light, held concerns over his side's lack of creativity.

The Dutchman told BBC Radio 5Live: "The purpose of the game is to create more chances and score goals. We haven't created more chances, but in the second half we were more dominant than we were against Swansea. That's a plus, but we have to create more from that dominance.

"You have to recognise the fight of the opponent. We have reached Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie a lot of times, but after that you need the support of the midfielders, and the combination was not good enough."

Van Gaal's comments come after it emerged United had agreed a fee, thought to be around £64 million, for Real Madrid winger Di Maria.

Louis van Gaal believes Ashley Young was fouled and should not have been booked for diving © Getty Images

The manager remained coy on any potential deal for the Argentine, but his desire to improve United's midfield this summer has been no secret, with the club having targeted a move for Arturo Vidal during the transfer window.

Van Gaal's plans have also been blighted by injury to summer signing Ander Herrera, who impressed in United's opening defeat to Swansea.

Van Gaal told Sky Sports: "I think always the club has to announce [Di Maria] and when we are thinking it's the right time for a transfer then we come to you and say, 'OK, we have bought that player or the other player,' but at this time we cannot say anything.

"I like [Lionel] Messi also. I like [Arturo] Vidal also. We have a lot of players in this world that I like but they cannot come always to Manchester United."

One midfielder who has enjoyed a positive transformation under Van Gaal, particularly throughout the club's pre-season tour of America, is Ashley Young, although the attacker was cautioned for diving during the draw at Sunderland.

Van Gaal, however, disagreed with referee Martin Atkinson's assertion and believed his side should have been awarded a penalty instead.

He said: "The only reason to give a penalty is when the opponent touches the leg of a player. Van Persie and Young were touched. Young lifted the ball across the opponent and he was touched by the opponent.

"The referee can give a penalty, but we don't have to talk too much about that. We can talk about our passing game which was not good enough."

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