Louis van Gaal: Man Utd 'lucky' to beat Southampton

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport at St Mary's
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was disappointed by his side's performance at St Mary's

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal admits his side were lucky to beat Southampton 2-1.

Two goals from Robin van Persie saw United win at St Mary's to climb up to third in the Premier League.

However, they were outplayed for much of Monday's game and only had three shots to the Saints' 15.

"When you are the better team then of course you deserve more," Van Gaal told BBC Sport. "The performance was not good enough - we were the lucky team."

United's boss also praised the contribution of Van Persie - who scored either side of Graziano Pelle's equaliser.

Louis van Gaal and Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie is now one of 10 players to have scored 140 Premier League goals or more

Van Gaal had been critical of the Dutch forward after their win over Arsenal saying he had a "very bad game" but called his performance at St Mary's his best of the season.

"I think not only the goals are telling something about Robin van Persie, I think also his performance," he said.

"He was one of three players on the pitch for Manchester United who were good or maybe very good. He had a great influence on the result and until now it is his best performance."

After an indifferent start to their season, United now find themselves in third position, but Van Gaal admitted: "I had hoped to do it with a better performance."

Shot-shy Manchester United
Manchester United had just three shots at goal at St Mary's, their lowest tally in a Premier League game since 2003.

Southampton, who slip to fifth, have now suffered three successive defeats and manager Ronald Koeman said his side were guilty of not being clinical enough.

Saints didn't punish errors - Koeman

He also admitted Van Persie was ultimately the difference between the two sides, adding "the better team" lost.

"We did not lose to Man Utd, we beat ourselves," Koeman told BBC Sport. "We were the better team.

"If you give players like Robin van Persie those chances, he will punish you. We did not punish them and that was the difference.

"We did everything, we created chances, but we made mistakes as well.

"Maybe they made more mistakes than us, but they have players who handle those kinds of mistakes, and that was the difference. Because on football and chances, I think we deserved more."