Sunday, 17 August 2014

Van Gaal admits United's confidence 'smashed' by defeat

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said his team need to learn to cope with pressure after they slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Before the clash, Van Gaal said to his players they "would win" if they did what he told them but despite some new formations and an injection of youth, United looked like the same stale team that finished seventh last season.

United enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season tour of the United States beating rivals Liverpool and European champions Real Madrid before a friendly win over Valencia at Old Trafford in midweek.

While that form encouraged the players and the fans, Van Gaal said it created a pressure that his team failed to handle on Saturday.

"Our wins in the United States and our win against Valencia... The expectations are so high -- and I felt that in the first half because I saw a lot of players very nervous, making the wrong choices. That's a pity," Van Gaal told a news conference.

"These players have to get used to those expectations, because it's Manchester United... You have to cope with that pressure, but that is also a process."

Van Gaal said the defeat could have a crushing effect on his team's confidence.

"When you have (pre-season) preparation time and you win everything and then in your first match you lose - it cannot be worse I believe," said the Dutchman. We built up a lot of confidence and it will be smashed down because of this result."

Van Gaal has made no secret of his hope to add some more new faces to his team and he confirmed that desire, but stressed it had little do with the loss to the Welsh side.

"I thought that before this match also. When we were playing in the USA, I thought the same.

"I know in what positions we need better players, but you have to buy only when the player can fulfil the way of playing that I ask," he added. - Eurosport 

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