MANCHESTER — Louis van Gaal accused his shell-shocked Manchester United players of “throwing the game away” after their second-half collapse on Sunday.
Van Gaal was left stunned by a shambolic defensive performance from his reconstructed team and admitted it brought back painful memories.
The Dutchman endured a similar experience in January 1998 when he was in charge at Barcelona, with Valencia coming back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 at the Nou Camp. But this was the first time in 853 Premier League games that United had thrown away a two-goal lead and lost.
Van Gaal said: “I have been in this profession for 25 years and I already thought I’d had an experience like that with Barcelona. We were 3-0 ahead with 15 minutes to play and lost 4-3, that was also with a top club.
“I cannot say that I am happy. In the world of football, these matches happen. It is not good because we had the game in our pocket and gave it away. Not because of Leicester, we gave it away and I don’t like that.
“You never expect it when you are 3-1 ahead, you have to kill the game and keep possession, but we didn’t do that. We created a lot of chances in the first half and made superb goals, but a game lasts for 90 minutes, not just for 60 and you have seen it was not enough today.
“The problem is that we started the last match against QPR very good with a new team, new players and then we play here and play very well, then give the game away. That’s difficult now, but we have to continue and improve.”
While the focus was mainly on United’s defensive problems, this was a momentous afternoon for Nigel Pearson and last season’s Championship winners.
Leicester City had already drawn with Everton and Arsenal and beaten Stoke City before their rampant performance against United.
Pearson said: “We did enough to win the game, no matter where people think United are at the moment.
“I’m very pleased, though this will generate more scrutiny about them than our play. It says so much about the character of our players and maybe shows we’ve got a bit more quality than people are aware of.” — Guardian