It may not have been pretty but Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal did not mind at all after Daley Blind’s late equaliser salvaged a 1-1 draw at West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.
The visitors were second best for much of the match at Upton Park and Cheikhou Kouyate’s superb volley looked to have given West Ham their first league win against the Old Trafford side since 2007.
But as Van Gaal’s team pushed for an equaliser Dutch international Blind was on hand to level the scores and West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was forced to admit his players could not cope with “long ball United” in the closing stages.
“I think we played very badly in the first half and we showed a lot of spirit in the second half, especially after the goal at the beginning,” Dutchman Van Gaal told Sky Sports.
“When we had the ball we didn’t play it along the floor, but also when we lost the ball then you have to win the first and the second balls much better than we did in the first half.
“Because they (West Ham) were playing long balls, we knew that in advance, but all of the second balls were for West Ham and that is why we were under a lot of pressure.
“That is also why the players lost their confidence to play the ball along the floor when we were in possession.”
With United struggling to create any clear chances, Van Gaal introduced towering Belgian Marouane Fellaini in the hope of disrupting the West Ham defence.
It worked a treat as Fellaini won an aerial ball in the build up to Blind’s equaliser which left United fourth in the Premier League table with 44 points from 24 matches.
“I think with Fellaini, you have to change your style of play and we have done,” Van Gaal said.
“Because of Fellaini, we have created a lot of chances because I think we had the three open chances before the goal.
“Normally, you can win this game also, in spite of the bad first half. But okay, I am pleased that we have a draw here.” (Reporting by Michael Hann; Editing by Ken Ferris)