Louis van Gaal was far from pleased with Manchester United’s performance after they relegated Aston Villa from the Premier League with a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford’s strike shortly after the half-hour mark sealed Villa’s fate on what was a relatively comfortable afternoon for United, who really should have put the game beyond all doubt before Rudy Gestede saw an effort bundled off the goalline and hit the post late on.
Despite the win, which kept United in the hunt for a top-four finish, Van Gaal expressed his displeasure at the wasteful nature of his side’s display, which came after Wednesday’s 2-1 FA Cup win over West Ham.
“I think that, maybe, the intensive game against West Ham in the midweek had an effect, because I made five changes,” he said.
“But because of that I thought that we would be fresh and move the ball around quickly. We played at too slow of a tempo.
“I know that it is not easy playing against such a defensive team, so you have to play quickly, and we have trained that way but to do it at the right moment is difficult.
“In the first half I think we did it better than in the second half, but nevertheless we got an important win.
The game saw the return to action of Wayne Rooney following the England captain’s two-month injury lay off and Van Gaal was quick to praise his impact upon the squad, while there was also another accomplished showing by 18-year-old Rashford.
“He [Rooney] played a very good first half, switched the play a lot of times. The goal was a fantastic switch,” said the Dutchman.
“In the second half he loses the ball more because he is tired and the rhythm is still high. When you are two months out it is difficult.
“He was angry about being taken off, but that shows his good spirit. He wants to keep playing, but I did not want to risk him playing 90 minutes because he has only trained three times.
“Rashford is a very positive player and he wants to play and I want to profit him and the side because of the momentum he has.
“Again, he scored the winning goal and it was a great bit of movement and I think it was a marvellous goal.
“I do think we need to give more entertainment to the fans, but the most important thing was to win this game.”