REUTERS – Manchester United fans may have left Old Trafford early during the FA Cup game against Sheffield United because of concerns about the traffic, manager Louis van Gaal said on Monday.
The United players were booed off at halftime in the third- round tie on Saturday after another insipid display and many fans streamed out of Old Trafford before Wayne Rooney’s late penalty secured a scrappy 1-0 win over the third-tier side.
“You have to be happy as a Manchester United fan that we are in next round and we have won the last two games,” Van Gaal told reporters ahead of the Premier League game at Newcastle United on Tuesday.
“They (the fans) are not thinking that we would score, I think, and maybe also because of the traffic that they leave the stadium a few minutes early. There are many reasons.”
United, fifth in the Premier League standings, have won their last two matches following a run of eight games without a victory and they have been widely criticised for a dull style of play which is at odds with the club’s attacking traditions.
Van Gaal, who confirmed he would be without German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger for the trip to third-bottom Newcastle, was also unhappy when a reporter asked if he was overly focused on the opposition rather than his own team.
“No. I am not more concerned. It’s part of the job. You have to know what they want and how they play. Then you can help your players,” Van Gaal said.
“I am more thinking how we have to attack and improve. Because we are defending very well, you are asking this question. Attack is more creative and intuition than defending.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed Osmond)