Louis van Gaal praised Radamel Falcao’s contribution to Manchester United’s 2-0 Premier League victory over Queens Park Rangers despite the Colombian firing blanks all game.
Falcao missed a hatful of gilt-edged opportunities at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon as United stayed in the top four, a point above Arsenal who turned over champions Manchester City.
However, Van Gaal was swift to commend the 28-year-old’s performance despite the absence of the world-class finishing that the striker is renowned for.
“It is not so important, I think, because he wants to score goals,” Van Gaal said.
“For me, I have to judge how he has played and scoring goals is an important aspect of a striker, I know.
“But for me it is also important if he is an attacking point and that he can play further with a striker, that we are coming in the third or fourth phase of our attack and he did it well.”
United created a host of chances in the first-half in west London, with Robert Green in superb form to keep out Falcao, while David De Gea had to be alert at the other end to tip a rasping Charlie Austin effort over the bar.
Van Gaal alternated systems at half-time, switching from an original back three to a flat back four, and the Reds looked immediately more comfortable.
And they eventually took the lead mid-way through the second period when substitute Marouane Fellaini picked up the ball in the box and fired high into Green’s net.
Falcao then had another chance to put the result beyond all doubt when he was played in by James Wilson, but Steven Caulker’s last-ditch interception ensured the pass evaded the forward.
However, the spoils were sealed when Wilson burst into the box and, after seeing his initial shot saved, dispatched the rebound in cool fashion in to the bottom corner.
And Van Gaal, who came under some criticism from the travelling Old Trafford faithful during the first half for his use of the 3-5-2 system, was delighted that the tactical switch paid dividends.
“I think pace is always important, which is why we try to play with Angel Di Maria as a striker,” the Dutchman explained.
“When I changed the shape, I wanted speed or pace also in the attacking line, that’s why I changed in that way. It’s a change in attack that brings lot of risk, but we have won 2-0 and I think it was deserved.
“The defensive organisation has been good from the beginning – only one match against Leicester City has it been bad.
“That was five goals and, because of that, we had a bad average against us, but I think we have a very good defensive organisation so that is not a problem.”
Main image courtesy of Queens Park Rangers FC via YouTube, with thanks.