Louis van Gaal has blamed blanket defences for Manchester United’s uninspiring football, saying Newcastle’s attacking style allowed his side to be more expansive.
The Dutchman saw his side score three times and still not win as Newcastle fought back to snatch a 3-3 Premier League draw at St James’ Park on a night when the United boss could hardly claim to have been bored.
However, he insisted his team was able to attack more freely than in recent weeks because the Magpies did the same.
Van Gaal said: “Newcastle was attacking. They wanted to attack, and that is the difference. I am saying that all the time, but you are doubting my words and my vision.
“When you see two teams who want to attack, then you see a game like this. But when you see a match that only one team wants to defend and wastes time and frustrates the opponent…”
United led 2-0 and 3-2 on Tyneside as Wayne Rooney claimed his 10th and 11th goals of the season either side of Jesse Lingard’s 37th-minute strike.
Georginio Wijnaldum had kept the home side in it at 2-1 and Aleksandar Mitrovic levelled from the penalty spot with 67 minutes gone before Rooney and Newcastle full-back Paul Dummett both scored inside a riotous final 11 minutes.
Van Gaal, whose side have now slipped to sixth place in the Barclays Premier League table after a run of just one victory in eight attempts, said: “We have scored three goals and have one point. I have said in all my press conferences that you have to score one more goal than your opponent, and we didn’t do that.
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“I am very disappointed, but we have to blame ourselves because we could have finished this match much earlier. There were big chances for (Jesse) Lingard and (Marouane) Fellaini and we didn’t do that. I have said that also to my players.
“The referee makes a decision on a penalty that maybe has a big question mark over it, but we could have finished the game by ourselves much earlier.
“There was the deflected shot from Dummett to equalise, but okay, that is happening and that is luck for Newcastle United. But you have to force the luck and finish the chances when you get them when they are so big.”
Referee Mike Dean gave two penalties on the night – one to Manchester United for handball against Chancel Mbemba and the other to Newcastle for Smalling’s tussle with Mitrovic – both of them contested by the respective managers, and might have given at least one more.
Van Gaal added: “In my opinion, there is no discussion about the penalties. I have seen the video and you see Mbemba is putting his hand to the ball and that was why Fellaini could not head the ball. He did it with purpose and consciously, so that is a penalty.
“The heavyweight wrestling between Mitrovic and Smalling, you can clearly see that he [Mitrovic] is pushing the head of Smalling to the ground. Then it is about heavyweight champions and who is the heavyweight champion at the end of it, and that was Smalling in his eyes. I cannot understand that.”