Cambridge United 0 Manchester United 0: Louis van Gaal blames the players, not the tactics

“It’s not the tactics. I’m sorry. It’s about the way the players play the system,” Van Gaal said.

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Louis van Gaal blamed his players not the tactics after Manchester United stumbled to a draw in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Division Two Cambridge.

Van Gaal retreated from his favoured 3-5-2 formation deploying four at the back from the start. Yet United failed to score despite enjoying 80 per cent possession. “It’s not the tactics. I’m sorry. It’s about the way the players play the system,” Van Gaal said.

“We make the same error against Yeovil and QPR in that we play the same style as our opponent. In the second half we played much better with the ball on the floor.

“It was a pity we had to wait again until half time. But in second half I was pleased but we didn’t score. I have to give credit to Cambridge United. They were well organised and played with the heart. We are still in the Cup and that is the most important thing.”

Radamal Falcao brought a superb save from Chris Dunn in the Cambridge goal and substitute Robin van Persie blazed over after coming on as a second half substitute. Beyond that United failed to display any kind of cutting edge.

Bizarrely Van Gaal claimed the conditions and the circumstances worked against his team. “Every aspect of the match is against us. We have to come here. The pitch is not so good and that can influence the style.

“The opponent is always giving more than normal. And then you can see the performance of the referee (you can give your opnion). Its always the same everywhere I have coached. It is difficult to beat opponents in these circumstances. You have to survive.

“Attacking is much more difficult than defending. In the first half we spent 45 minutes not doing what we had to do. In the second half we could have scored. Falcao had some chances.”

Cambridge boss Richard Money spoke for the whole of Cambridge after his team earned a money-spinning trip to Manchester. “We said in the dressing room afterwards we are going to Old Trafford. Who cares what happens?

“It’s difficult to put into words how proud we are. When you get back in dressing room you suddenly start to realise what it means. It’s incredible. We played with food organisation and a lot of courage.

“We knew they would have a lot of the ball. We looked dangerous in the first half. In the second half we showed courage against world class players trying to probe. If we were going to get anything out the game we needed our goalkeeper and our two centre halves to be outstanding and they were.

“We spent a lot of time before kick-off making them aware, focussing on the names on that team sheet and the badge on the Man United shirt. It was then about getting the players to stick out there chests and go out and play. I’m sure the chairman would have been disappointed had we scored at the end.”