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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019

United boss Van Gaal's answer for critics after third straight defeat: 'I'm not God'

The Red Devils fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to West Brom at Old Trafford on Saturday and the Dutchman concedes he cannot simply halt the club’s current slump.

LOUIS VAN GAAL insists he cannot halt Manchester United’s slump because he is not God, after watching his side slip to a third successive defeat.

The Red Devils lost 1-0 to West Brom at Old Trafford on Saturday, with Chris Brunt’s deflected free-kick proving decisive. They have now failed to score for the third game in a row.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion - Old Trafford West Brom's Chris Brunt (centre) watches his deflected free-kick fly past David De Gea. Source: Lynne Cameron

The home team dominated the ball throughout – boasting almost 80 per cent possession – but could not break a resolute Baggies’ defence down, with Robin van Persie missing a second-half penalty.

United’s 3-0 defeat to Everton followed a similar pattern, and Van Gaal admits that his side must find a way through teams who set up to defend against their possession-based style.

“I have said that in advance also, you think that I am God but it’s not like that,” he told reporters on Saturday. “What is happening is happening always because when your team is playing better always they shall defend more – your opponent – and that you can see.

“Also Everton at home had a very defensive organisation, and Chelsea at home also, that they come here like that you can expect but also in our away matches they are defending.

“We have to disorganise that organisation but that is the next step in the process. We have more time on the ball, they have more time to break, we need to play with higher ball speed and that is difficult, to do that against so many bodies in front of you.”

Van Gaal also played down concerns that United could slip out of the top four, with Liverpool cutting the gap to four points with their win over QPR.

“Maybe you will remember I have said until the end that it was a rat race,” he added.

“We were seven points ahead and I was the only one who said it was still possible. We have to keep the confidence and finish the chances because it starts with creating chances, and we had the chances today to finish.

“It is a pity and it is disappointing but it is much worse when you don’t create any chances in spite of the organisation like West Brom did but also like, for example, Chelsea did.”

Read: The champagne is on ice at Stamford Bridge but contentious penalty divides opinion

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