Louis Van Gaal disappointed but defiant
Manchester United boss admits side did not train for two days before game
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal speaks with Wayne Rooney after he is substituted during the match at the King Power Stadium Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Louis van Gaal refused to blame his Manchester United players for another flat display after they hit back from Jamie Vardy’s record-breaking strike at Leicester.
The Old Trafford boss praised his side’s resilience and felt they deserved to win at the King Power Stadium, where they earned a 1-1 draw, and revealed they had not trained for two days.
Foxes forward Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 10-match scoring streak record by netting in his 11th straight Barclays Premier League game as United were denied the chance to go top.
Bastian Schweinsteiger levelled in first-half injury time and Van Gaal insisted he was pleased with United’s efforts, explaining they did not train following Wednesday’s 0-0 Champions League draw with PSV.
Van Gaal said: “When you see the data against PSV they were the highest data physically of the whole season of Manchester United and nobody knows that. Then we cannot train. We didn’t train Thursday and Friday. So I am proud of my players.
“My players are disappointed because we had the feeling we could win. That is difficult to cope with because we could have been first in the league and now we are not.
“I am very disappointed because I had a feeling we could have won this game and we didn’t do that and we gave the goal away.
“We also gave away another chance and so we could have lost the game in spite of our dominance. When you want to be the champions at the end of the season — and we want that, the players want that, the manager wants that and the fans wants that — then you have to win this kind of game and we didn’t do that so I am disappointed.
“We didn’t win in such an important game but I have to say we have played against PSV Eindhoven and we gave everything.”
Van Gaal calmed any injury fears over Wayne Rooney after the striker was replaced in the second half.
He added: “I don’t think he is injured for the next match. I wanted to change one of the strikers and he was limping and that’s why I chose him. I could have chosen (Anthony) Martial because they were both not running in behind.”
The point saw Leicester move joint top of the table with Manchester City after Manuel Pellegrini’s side earlier won 3-1 against Southampton.
Vardy stole the attention but Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri admitted he had guessed Van Gaal would change his system to three at the back to cope with the rampant Foxes striker and Shinji Okazaki.
Ranieri said: “I was sure he wanted to change something. When we scored I thought about Louis, he put three at the back and in the first counter-attack we scored a goal.
“It was good for us but maybe he was very, very angry. It is much better he is angry than me.”
Ranieri is still thinking about the 40-point mark, the familiar benchmark that normally guarantees survival.
“Now I am thinking there are 11 points to go,” Ranieri said. “It’s important for our honour and our project to achieve 40 points, and then we put another little step.”