Van Gaal defends team despite embarrassing loss

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal calls his team’s performance in their Europa League match against Midtjylland poor, but says a lengthy injury list makes putting together a side difficult.

After losing 2-1, Van Gaal says the team needs to look at why they were unable to win and keep the ball. Manchester United will play Midtjylland in the second leg at Old Trafford on 25 February.

Van Gaal, already without 13 players, lost David de Gea during the warm-up and used an adage that means anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

“It is the law of Murphy I think,” the Dutchman told BT Sport.

“A lot of things are happening in the heads of the players and in the first 10 or 15 minutes we were not so good.”

Van Gaal felt his side improved as the first half went on and could have scored more goals.

But he added: “In the second half we didn’t win any duels, any second balls. You cannot afford a second goal, but we could have scored also.

“Jesse Lingard had two remarkable chances.”