Manchester United were forced to settle for a disappointing goalless draw against Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday. The derby clash between the two of the top teams in the Premier League did not go as expected for a lot of fans, including the neutral ones.
Second half substitute Jesse Lingard and centre-back Chris Smalling came close to helping Red Devils break the deadlock in the final quarter of the match. However, woodwork and City stopper Joe Hart managed to keep the ball getting into the net.
Louis van Gaal said both teams played a tactical game and he was happy with the display his men had shown on the pitch against their local rivals.
“I am very proud of my players because I think we played 90 minutes of a tough game. Both sides played a very tactical game. It was very compact and organised, that is how Manchester City played against us. They adapted the line-up against us,” Van Gaal told United’s official website.
City were without their star players Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Samir Nasri as the trio were out due to injuries. Manuel Pellegrini played with one striker up front and deployed Yaya Toure in the No 10 role, with Fernandinho and Fernando playing the role of defensive midfielders.
“Against Sevilla in the Champions League, they played with two strikers and now they played with one, with one more player in midfield, so it was a tough game,” United manager explained.
“We created more chances but we didn’t finish them and that is the disappointment because you must win these kinds of games for the fans. It is the derby and when you are so focused and so concentrated like we were today then, yeah, you deserve to win. But sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.”
Smalling, on the other hand believes United were a better side that City in the derby, despite a goalless draw.
“I think we probably edged it overall with the chances we had in the second half. Towards the end, you could tell that, for the last 20-30 minutes, they were hanging on and bringing on defenders, so it was on us to really push forward and we did. On another day, the chances we had might have gone in,” the defender told MUTV.