Louis van Gaal felt his Manchester United side required a bit more luck to beat a resolute Manchester City side in a dull derby encounter.
The 170th meeting between the two Manchester giants failed to live up to the billing but it was Manuel Pellegrini’s men that returned to the top of the Premier League after securing a point at Old Trafford.
The game was bereft of attacking quality and the only real chances fell to the hosts, substitute Jesse Lingard hit the bar late on and City keeper Joe Hart saved well from Chris Smalling.
Van Gaal was happy with the way his side controlled the game but was aggrieved not to draw level on points with the Citizens.
“I am disappointed, I have told my players that,” he said.
“When you play 90 minutes, where you are concentrated and focused like we were, then I am proud. But we are still two points behind City so it’s disappointing.
“They [City] have the right to play compact and they have done it. They have a fantastic team on the counter and we had to defend against that as well in a very professional way.
“I cannot complain, I am only disappointed. We did not have the luck.”
United failed to register a single attempt on goal during the first half of the derby – the first time they had failed to do so in the Premier League since the 2003/04 season.
Wayne Rooney’s performance was heavily scrutinised once again, United’s captain who turned 30 on Saturday, failed to test Hart as Anthony Martial, deployed again on the left, looked by far the most dangerous player.
United’s Dutch manager has become growingly frustrated with the constant media attention surrounding his captains performances, Van Gaal was quick to vent his disapproval when asked by Rooney’s latest contribution.
“I have to talk every week about Rooney, why?” the United manager said.
“You have your opinion – write it. I don’t give any more answers about Wayne Rooney. I am sick of them.”
The Red Devils were looking to take full advantage of City’s star duo’s absence, with Sergio Aguero and David Silva ruled out, City decided to undertake a disciplined approach.
Van Gaal revealed at half-time he wanted his side to test Joe Hart more and called for more long range efforts.
“We know we didn’t create so many chances because it is difficult how they have played, so organised, so on the counter-attack,” Van Gaal added.
“But I have said at half-time we can also shoot from outside the box, you don’t have to combine in the 16-metre area.
“Try your luck that way. That was my remark, you can shoot from outside the box. Now you can shoot, why you don’t shoot?
“That is like the game against Moscow, the same, also organised but it says something about the strength of Manchester United these days.”
Image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.