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Lack of goals a concern for Van Gaal as Man United crash out of League Cup

first_img Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira reacts to a missed chance against Middlesbrough Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was left to lament a succession of squandered opportunism, and admitted his side’s lack of goals is concerning, after they were dumped out of the League Cup by Middlesbrough on penalties.The Red Devils were held to their second straight goalless draw at Old Trafford and were beaten 3-1 in the shoot-out, with Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young all missing from the spot.It makes United the latest high-profile exit from the competition, following holders Chelsea and Arsenal’s fourth-round defeats on Wednesday.Van Gaal’s men were wasteful against the Championship outfit, with Marouane Fellaini, on two occasions, and substitute Anthony Martial missing guilt-edged chances in front of goal in extra-time.And the Dutch boss admitted his side’s profligacy cost them before the “casino” of the shoot-out.“When you are not finishing the chances – and they were very easy chances in front of the goal or in front of the goalkeeper – then it is very difficult to win a game because the goals are counting, not the chances,” the boss said.“You can say it is unlucky but that I have said already after the match against [Manchester] City also because that was also 0-0. You have to force the luck also, we didn’t do that because we didn’t score. That’s why I’m disappointed.“My players have given everything and that’s why I am also proud of them because until the end they have done it. Penalties is a casino – you never know.”England captain Rooney and Young both saw their penalties saved by Boro goalkeeper Tomas Mejias, while Carrick blazed over in between with only David Nugent not converting for the visitors.However, Van Gaal absolved his trio of any blame, preferring to instead reflect on Mejias’ successful rolls of the dice.“In the goal was a goalkeeper; and he was very quick and he gambled also,” Van Gaal added.“He’s 195 centimetres. That is not easy to do when the goalkeeper is gambling for the right corner.“You need players who look at the goalkeeper and put it in the other [corner]…very early he goes away. It is already 120 minutes you have played so you are not so sharp any more. These things happen.”While United could have put the tie to bed in extra-time, they were also fortunate to not be ousted in 90 minutes, with Daley Blind almost scoring two own-goals.At the other end, James Wilson offered little before being withdrawn at half-time due to injury, while Rooney, who played in a deeper midfield role, continued his struggles in front of goal.When asked if the lack of goals was a concern, Van Gaal replied: “Yes, of course. Football – what only matters is a goal. “We have played two matches – 0-0. In my opinion we could have scored against Manchester City now, again, that’s the score.“It is a concern but I do know also that it can easily turn around in the next game.” 1last_img read more