Manchester United have lost too many games during the Dutchman’s tenure – the defeat at West Brom was just the latest.
Louis van Gaal is nearing the end of his second season at Manchester United. There have been highs and some real lows, but which are the five worst defeats?
The 1-0 loss to West Brom on Sunday, at least the manner of it, was difficult to comprehend. In a must-win game, United played so casually, failing to even suggest a comeback was on the cards.
From Van Gaal’s substitutions to the players’ reaction to Juan Mata’s red card, it was as if everyone involved had given up.
Worryingly, it’s far from the worst defeat United have experienced during the Dutchman’s spell in charge.
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Last season, United were embarrassed 4-0 by MK Dons and somehow squandered a 3-1 lead at Leicester City to lose 5-3. This season, 2-1 losses to Sunderland and FC Midtjylland were extraordinarily bad, and they came within the space of a few weeks.
The point, if it’s not clear already, is that it’s genuinely tough to pick out the five worst defeats during Van Gaal’s time at United.
Here, though, we run through the five most embarrassing and humiliating results.
5) West Brom 1-0 Manchester United
United’s most recent game goes straight in at number five, mainly because it came at a time when it looked as if things were heading in the right direction. After four consecutive wins, though, United put in a completely listless display. When you don’t like like winning – or even scoring – against West Brom, you’ve got some real problems.
4) Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United
If you’re leading 3-1 with half an hour to go against any team, never mind Leicester, you should win that game. Amazingly, United collapsed – and that doesn’t seem like a strong enough word – to the Foxes and conceded four goals in 21 minutes. It was truly incredible stuff. What made the defeat so disgraceful was the manner in which the match was thrown away. Leicester played well and deserved the win, but a team with a smidgen of resolve would not have crumbled so easily.
3) Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United
The Black Cats have been wrapped up in a relegation battle all season long and will do well to survive in the Premier League. To lose to such a team – and, more worryingly, get comfortably outplayed by them – was remarkable for all the wrong reasons. Anthony Martial’s lovely dink should have been the platform from which to go on and win the game. In the end, though, United looked second best to one of the worst sides in recent Premier League history.
2) FC Midtjylland 2-1 Manchester United
That United beat FC Midtjylland 5-1 at Old Trafford with a makeshift team illustrates how bad the 2-1 defeat in Denmark was. After taking the lead in that game, United were subsequently undone by arguably the worst opponent to play against the Red Devils this season. Somehow, United could not find a way to score in the second half and ended up losing miserably.
1) Manchester United 1-2 Norwich City
United’s loss at home to Norwich sits at number one because it should have been the result – and performance – that saw Van Gaal sacked as manager. To allow a poor Canaries side to score at Old Trafford, never mind win, was downright embarrassing. The defending on both goals was calamitous. In the end, United never really looked like turning the game around and lost to a team that looks destined to be relegated. It was, simply put, one of the worst United results of the Premier League era.
In truth, you could pick an entirely different top five from the results that weren’t included. There have been so many defeats, so many dreadful losses, that United’s 1-0 reverse at West Brom was merely the latest in an ever-growing list.