Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has insisted that his players must take their chance to become ‘guardians’ after suffering an embarrassing defeat to Leicester.
The Reds slumped to a humiliating 5-3 defeat at the King Power Stadium yesterday, despite having taken a commanding 3-1 lead early in the second period.
But four Leicester City goals in the space of half an hour exposed United’s defensive frailties – something that many fans and pundits alike feel was poorly addressed by the Old Trafford hierarchy in the close season.
And although Van Gaal asserted that he would stick by his philosophy and system, he needs the players to ensure that it will be a success.
“It’s very important for a club such as Manchester United to have guardians of its culture,” the Dutchman told reporters after the game
“Every youth player who comes through can be a guardian.
“The ‘Class of 92’ [Beckham, Butt, Giggs, Neville and Scholes] were guardians of the club’s culture.
“You need very good youth education so you have always more players who can become guardians.”
United have now lost two of their five games this season, with their only success being a 4-0 demolition of QPR at Old Trafford.
Angel Di Maria was influential in that victory, and shone again in the first-half against Leicester, bagging his second United goal with a delightful dink over Kasper Schmeichel, while full-debutant Radomel Falcao also impressed.
However, Van Gaal, 68, refused to blame his young defense for the defeat, although he admitted that if the club’s current youth crop were to develop into ‘guardians’, they would have to take their chances.
“You cannot say the defence was weak,” he said.
“You play like a team, Leicester showed that. We did not play like a team in the second-half and that is not only defense.
“In a defensive situation the whole team is responsible, not just one defender.
“We have too many players who want to seek for the goal. I did it with Barcelona where I gave debuts to Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Carles] Puyol and [Victor] Valdes.
“At Bayern Munich, we had [Holger] Badstuber, [Thomas] Muller and [David] Alaba who can guard the culture. I also want to do that here but the youth players have to take their chance when they receive it.”
Defender Tyler Blackett was sent-off for a desperate last-ditch lunge on Jamie Vardy that led to a penalty for Leicester’s fifth goal, while experienced center back Jonny Evans had to be substituted early-on due to injury.
And 26-year-old Evans now joins fellow defender Phil Jones on the sidelines, while Blackett is now suspended for United’s forthcoming clashes against West Ham, Everton and Chelsea.
On Evans, Van Gaal added: “I don’t know how bad it is.
“We will see tomorrow [Monday], he will probably have a scan.”
Image courtesy of Sky Sports, via YouTube, with thanks