Manchester United 0 Manchester City 0: Louis van Gaal claims United were the only team trying to win

Draw enough to put City on back on top of the Premier League on goal difference from Arsenal

Ian Herbert
Chief Sports Writer
Monday 26 October 2015 00:34 GMT
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Van Gaal was bitterly unhappy that Ander Herrera was not awarded a penalty for a challenge by City’s Raheem Sterling
Van Gaal was bitterly unhappy that Ander Herrera was not awarded a penalty for a challenge by City’s Raheem Sterling

The Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal, has implied that his side had been the only ones with the ambition to try to win the 170th derby, after arguably the most sterile fixture between the two sides in modern times.

It has been 11 years since the sides failed to conjure a goal in an Old Trafford derby and Van Gaal – who was bitterly unhappy that Ander Herrera was not awarded a penalty for a challenge by City’s Raheem Sterling – agreed that City had been defensive. “Yeah, but these kind of questions, you have to ask not to me,” he said. “You have to ask my colleague [Manuel Pellegrini] if Manchester United has attacked. They have the right to play compact and they have done it and they have a fantastic team also on the counter-attack. So I cannot complain.”

Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, admitted that his approach to the game had not been his natural one – to create – but said that he had had to introduce a different tactical dimension to leave Old Trafford without losing. The point – after only the sixth goalless draw in this fixture in 41 years – sent City back to the top of the Premier League – on goal difference from Arsenal.

“I think we have a good draw in a difficult stadium,” Pellegrini said. “We played better in the first half, but as a team we need to defend, we can defend. As tactical games, mind games, it is easy to defend with 10 players near your box. For me, it is not the way to do it but if you cannot find the ball you have to do it.”

The failure to create chances was extraordinary. There were only two shots on goal – one apiece; City’s in the 82nd minute, United’s in the dying seconds, with Jesse Lingard also striking the crossbar as United pushed for a winner. Van Gaal told his players at half-time that they should attempt to shoot from distance to increase their chances of scoring.

“I have said at half-time we can also shoot from outside the box, you don’t have to combine in the 16-metre area,” the Dutchman said. “Try your luck that way. That was my remark: ‘You can shoot from outside the box. Now you can shoot. Why you don’t shoot?’”

He did not disagree with the suggestion that his players might be looking to be too perfectionist and trying to score the “perfect goal”. To that notion he said: “We shall evaluate that with the players because I said that at half-time. I like the question because I have seen that also but we have to speak about that. I don’t have time to talk to my players after the match because they have to answer a lot of questions from the media.”

We played better than Man United. We came here for the three points and tried to score

&#13; <p>Manuel Pelligrini, Manchester City manager</p>&#13;

Asked if he was happy with a 0-0 scoreline, he responded: “It is a rhetorical question. You can answer that for yourself. I am disappointed but I cannot complain. I am very proud of my players.”

Pellegrini said that he felt a Rooney infringement on Nicolas Otamendi was “a clear penalty”. He said he had not seen the Herrera/Sterling incident. “I don’t know. I don’t think the referee has any important things that decide the game.”

The manager also suggested City had not been at their best. “We lose too many balls in the second half,” he said. “We played better than Man United. We came here for the three points and tried to score. We had more attempts in the first half, but not clear chances. In the second half it was not our intention but we keep losing the ball. I don’t know if we play to our best. When teams get a point playing away it is very good tactical and mind games. It is not our normal way to do it but one point here is not bad.”

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