Swansea City 2 Manchester United 1: Louis van Gaal walks out of press conference after being asked about transfers

The Dutchman could only rant and obfuscate after loss

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The Independent Football

Louis van Gaal is a disciple of the Don King school of management. When the sugar hits the fan, confuse. And so Manchester United’s taciturn coach turned to half-truths, contradictions and obfuscation in the wake of his team’s first defeat of the season at Swansea, and none of it was convincing.

United were well beaten in the end despite Van Gaal’s mutterings about dominating for 85 minutes. His captain and principal striker Wayne Rooney continued to struggle and his goalkeeping solution to the David de Gea impasse ended in ruins.

With Rooney stretching his goalless run to 10 Premier League matches and Sergio Romero looking what he is, a goalkeeper of last resort, the focus returned to the transfer window and what United might do to resolve their issues before it closes on Tuesday. And Van Gaal did not like the line of questioning, eventually leaving the room ranting something about reporters thinking they were cleverer than him.

Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates his winning goal

“We shall not buy at the end of the transfer period,” Van Gaal said. “We know what is happening and what is not happening. We have to keep on,  and in January the window is open again. It is a process. You are dependent not only on the player but the club and also what you want to spend.


“There are a lot of things you cannot force. De Gea stays unless the club that want him makes an announcement or we do. We have to wait and see. I don’t want to interfere. The task is for [the United executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward. I don’t want to interfere. We have coped with the situation by buying Romero, and I think we have done it well.”

Van Gaal was honest enough to accept he was out-thought by his opposite number Garry Monk, who handed down a lesson from which United must learn.

“I feel frustration but more than disappointment because we were dominant for 85 minutes and lost in five minutes,” Van Gaal added. “We lost because Swansea changed the shape to their benefit. In that five minutes they changed the game scoring twice. It is a big lesson for us because we have to react much quicker. They changed to be more compact and we had not seen that before.”

Romero was an obvious starting point in identifying culprits, particularly with the second goal from Bafe Gomis when he appeared to dive over a slow moving ball. Van Gaal disagreed. “Defending starts in front, not only in the last line. The pressure for the goalkeeper or last defender is always higher. I don’t agree when you want to write the goalkeeper was today not so good.”

The impressive Monk was rightly thrilled at the way his team responded after a slow start and falling behind. “It was a difficult first 25 minutes,” Monk said. “They were better than us in the first half. I felt we needed to make a tactical change. It freed us up and made us look much more of a threat.

“They didn’t react to the change well. We scored two goals to take advantage and defended well after that. They dominated the ball but didn’t create much in the first half, but the second half we had the best chances in the game. I don’t recall them having that many chances.”