Manchester United’s return to Champions League football ended in disaster on Tuesday night.
Louis van Gaal named an attacking line up to face PSV at the Philips Stadion, with Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial both starting and Juan Mata being deployed in his favoured No.10 role.
A goal from Memphis Depay against his former club looked to have put United in full control, but goals from Hector Moreno and Luciano Narsingh either side of the break handed the Dutch champions an unlikely victory, as van Gaal’s men huffed and puffed but ultimately failed to find a way back in to the game.
But the defeat was mostly overshadowed by the shock injury to Luke Shaw, with the young England international being stretchered off mid-way through the first-half with a suspected broken leg, following clattering challenge from Moreno. Shortly after that happened, Moreno equalised for the hosts and had United fans fuming that he shouldn’t have been on the pitch, but the most important thing is to hope Shaw’s injury isn’t too serious and he enjoys a full recovery.
Back to the performance, and there are so many concerns Louis van Gaal will take away from his side’s latest defeat. So here’s a look at three things we learned from his side’s failings in the Netherlands on Tuesday night…
Owen's wondering why we have so much possession but aren't winning. Maybe it's that world class striker we lack mate. #mufc
— Mack The Knife (@IdMjones) September 15, 2015
For all Fellaini did last season, this striker position has not worked out. Absolute shambles. Ridiculous. #MUFC
— Usher Komugisha (@Pinkett888) September 15, 2015
Louis van Gaal spent a ludicrous amount of money on 19-year-old Anthony Martial and although he did score on his debut against Liverpool, Wayne Rooney’s injury means it was all down to him to get something for United tonight – that’s a hell of a lot of pressure for a youngster to handle, particularly in the Champions League.
Van Gaal claims he signed Martial for Ryan Giggs as the future manager of the club, but what about the present? The fact Wayne Rooney, who is yet to score in the Premier League this season, is the only experienced striker at the club is pretty unacceptable for a club of Man United’s size.
Tonight proved they really needed to spend £50m+ on a proven, world class striker instead of an untried, inexperienced teenager.
— Priyank Dang (@priyankdang) September 15, 2015
Everyone was surprised to see Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie sold in the summer, and if anything tonight was the perfect game for a player like Hernandez to come off the bench and perform his super-sub heroics.
At 2-1 down, Louis van Gaal through on Fellaini and Valencia to try and carve out an equaliser, but it was obvious they weren’t the types of players needed to get what they were searching for,
United’s starting XI looked strong at the beginning of the game but after it struggled to create many clear cut chances it became very clear that the bench didn’t have enough about it to help change that, which will be hugely worrying for van Gaal.
We need to learn how to score when in strong possession of the ball. Think about the Newcastle game and tonight, need to finish teams #Mufc
— matt robinson (@robbo_matt) September 15, 2015
United had 67% possession but just didn’t know what to do with it.
It looked as if they were trying to walk the ball in the back of the net for much of the game, but their lack of experience and cutting edge up front meant they were ultimately unsuccessful in doing so.
A moment of brilliance from Memphis Depay in the first half gave them the lead, but they can’t rely on the youngster to keep doing doing that just yet. Instead PSV countered brilliantly and created two goals out of it, with United regularly sloppy in possession in key areas.
This will be van Gaal’s most worrying lesson from tonight. They won’t get anywhere near the top four unless he and his players address it quickly.