Louis van Gaal: Man Utd produced their best display at West Brom

Van Gaal blames 'individual errors'

Manchester United produced their best performance of the season in a 2-2 draw against West Brom at The Hawthorns, according to manager Louis van Gaal.

The Red Devils twice came from behind, with Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind, late on, cancelling out Stephane Sessegnon and Saido Berahino strikes.

"I'm disappointed because we played our best match of the season and the result is not good enough," said Van Gaal, 63.

"We could have won but that does not count in our world."

Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live
"Going forward United look brilliant but from a defensive point of view both goals they conceded were terrible. Away from home, Van Gaal is not good enough tactically, defensively it just isn't good enough. The second goal was so poor, there was so much space in the defence."

United are still without a victory away from home under Van Gaal, who replaced David Moyes in the summer after steering the Netherlands to the World Cup semi-finals.

While the Red Devils had 63% of possession and registered 22 shots, with seven on target, they looked vulnerable at the back as the Baggies exposed their inexperienced backline on numerous occasions, scoring with both of their shots on target.

Despite that, Van Gaal remained positive about his side's display.

"I have to be happy because we created lots of chances and West Brom only had two chances," he said. "We gave it away, which is a pity because we could have had a new start if we had won.

United's young XI
At 24.6, the average age of Manchester United's starting XI was the second-youngest in Europe's top five leagues this weekend.
Manchester City fielded the oldest team in the Premier League this weekend, and the third-oldest in Europe, with an average age of 29.3 for the line-up that beat Spurs 4-1.
Only Valencia in La Liga fielded a younger team than Man Utd in Europe this weekend, with an average age of 24.4.
The youngest starting line-up in Europe since 2008 had an average age of 22.1, fielded by French side Nice at the end of last season.
Source: Football Observatory Weekly

"There were individual errors and they were forced because West Brom were playing more narrow in midfield and we had to push up."

The Dutchman insisted his team would not sacrifice any of its attacking flair in order to prevent similar defensive mistakes.

"I don't think that is the solution," he said. "Football is made to play attractively for the fans.

"And I think today the fans have enjoyed, not only the Manchester United fans but also the West Bromwich Albion fans, because it was a great game.

"I am happy about our style of play but not happy about the result."

Van Gaal introduced Fellaini as a half-time substitute, and the move paid instant dividends when the Belgian netted his first goal for the club with a stinging shot from the edge of the area, equalising after Sessegnon had smashed home the opener.

Marouane Fellaini slammed Manchester United level within minutes of coming on as a substitute
Marouane Fellaini slammed Manchester United level within minutes of coming on as a substitute

Berahino restored the home side's lead with a cool finish after being played in on goal but Blind equalised in the 87th minute with a low shot from 20 yards.

United face Premier League leaders Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday before a visit to second-placed Manchester City seven days later.

"I don't think it was a good result for us because the next two games will be difficult," midfielder Fellaini, 26, told BBC Sport. "The manager asked me to put pressure on the box and to keep fighting. I did and I managed to score."

West Brom manager Alan Irvine said his side were "disappointed" not to hold on for all three points against a team they beat at Old Trafford last season.

"We were so close to getting a fantastic result and for us to be in our dressing room feeling bitterly disappointed is a feeling we won't experience much," said Irvine. "We thought the three points were there for the taking.

Stuttering Red Devils
Louis van Gaal has guided Manchester United to 12 points from eight league games, one more than David Moyes achieved at the same stage in 2013-14
Marouane Fellaini failed to score with any of his 15 shots in the 2013-14 season, but scored with his first attempt in this campaign

"We scored two fantastic goals with two fantastic moves. Saido Berahino has good role models here. He is a good finisher with both feet and is very composed in those situations, I wasn't surprised when he scored.

"I enjoyed tonight and I'm enjoying the job, the players are so responsive. We're making progress and I can't praise them enough for how they've reacted since I came to the club."