Van Gaal Admits Pressure Increasing After Man-U Loss

Van GaalManchester United suffered a 2-0 defeat to Stoke City on Boxing Day to make it their fourth consecutive Premier League defeat.

Louis van Gaal, who expressed disappointment when talking to Sky Sports and MUTV after the final whistle at the Britannia Stadium, criticized his team for failing to play.

“My thoughts are that we didn’t dare to play football in the first half and then we gave a very bad goal away. That was too much. They scored from a free-kick and then it was half-time.

“We have spoken with each other and I have to say the second half was much better, we created one or two chances and you have to score. Then the belief is coming back and we played better in the second half, but the problem is we didn’t dare to play.

Manchester United face Chelsea in their next match and van Gaal knows beating the Blues could be a tough task, “You can say we can quickly get revenge for this defeat against Chelsea but in the time in between, you have to recover because the players have given everything and then you have to manage that you are very confident to start the game, and that you dare to play our football.

“It is very difficult to do that in just two days but we shall try.”

Several fans are calling for the Dutchman to be sacked and his future has been a subject of speculation in the media but he has been confident about turning things around for the Red Devils.

However, the loss seems to have affected the confidence as he admitted that the pressure had increased, “I have tried to do everything but the pressure shall be higher and higher with every match. That is the problem now.

“It is more difficult because I am also part of the four matches we have lost so people are looking at me and I have to deal with that, but more importantly the players have to deal with that because they are the ones who have to perform.”

Man United Fans Deserve Derby Win – Van Gaal

Man UnitedLouis van Gaal says every Manchester United fan deserves to enjoy the derby victory over City, insisting he is delighted the supporters can “walk through the streets without being embarrassed.”

The Reds boss hailed the Old Trafford faithful for their unbroken backing through his first season in charge, citing the great support given to the team in both the good times and bad.

Over 75,000 fans inside the stadium witnessed a superb come-from-behind victory over the Blues and van Gaal was in buoyant mood when he spoke exclusively to MUTV after the win.

“We have showed that [strength of character] often,” he said, after being asked about United’s powers of recovery, having gone behind to an early goal from Sergio Aguero. “I have more than once given compliments to my players about that because, in all the matches, we are going until the end with a great spirit and we have shown that against City.

“I am very pleased for the fans of course, because they have supported us when the results were not so good and now they are very good. I’m very happy for the fans that they can walk through the streets without being embarrassed! They can go on the streets, hat up, and they can say now ‘we are, this year, the better team’ because goal difference is in our favour.”

Van Gaal took time to praise Sky Sports’ Man of the Match, Ashley Young, after he netted the equaliser and set up two of United’s other three goals, and had a special mention for another goalscorer in Marouane Fellaini.

“Ashley was Man of the Match and I think that was right. If I had to choose, I would have chosen him,” he revealed. “Also Fellaini is very important in our game-plan and I’m very pleased that he plays for Manchester United and no-one else.

“At Liverpool, it was about the first half but we didn’t start so well, Manchester City had the better start,” added van Gaal as he continued his assessment of the match. “But then we came back into the game because of the assist of David De Gea, more or less, for the first goal for Ashley Young. Then we gained confidence and we performed our game-plan much more. In the second half, we played very well with a lot of pace in our game. I was very pleased with the second half.”

 

Culled from manutd.com

Thierry Henry Confirms Retirement

Arsenal---Thierry-Henry-to-return-to-Emirates-and-end-his-career-as-a-Gunner-699One of football top players, Thierry Henry, have decided to hang his boots after leaving New York Red Bulls with the aim of returning to London to take up a role in the media.

The 37-year-old former Arsenal striker left the New York Red Bulls at the start of the month after they were knocked out of the MLS play-offs, but there was speculation he might choose to play on at another club – with a return to the Gunners mooted.

Henry has now made it clear that he will no longer continue his playing career and will start working as a pundit with Sky Sports instead.

“After 20 years in the game I have decided to retire from professional football. It has been an incredible journey and I would like to thank all the fans, team mates and individuals involved with Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, New York Red Bulls and of course the French National Team that have made my time in the game so special,” a statement on his official website read.

“It is now time for a different career path and I am pleased to say that I will be returning to London and joining Sky Sports. I will hopefully share some of the insights, observations and experiences I have learnt over the years with you guys.

“I have had some amazing memories (mostly good!) and a wonderful experience. I hope you have enjoyed watching as much as I have enjoyed taking part. See you on the other side…”

Goal-laden career

Henry will always be most closely associated with Arsenal, where he is the all-time goalscorer with 228 goals in 377 games across two different spells.

Arsene Wenger, who had known him as a young player at Monaco, signed him from Juventus for £11million in 1999, and immediately shifted him from the wing to a central striking position.

His blend of pace and power made him one of the most feared forwards in English football, and Henry won the Premier League title twice with the Gunners, as well as the FA Cup three times.

Henry left Arsenal in 2007 and joined Barcelona, where he won the UEFA Champions League in 2009. He also added two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey, Spanish Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to his honours list in three seasons at the Nou Camp.

His medal collection also includes a Ligue 1 title and Trophee des Champions with Monaco, his first professional club.

He spent the final five years of his playing career with the Red Bulls, returning to Arsenal to make four appearances on loan in early 2012.

With France, Henry scored 51 goals in 123 appearances – only Lilian Thuram has more caps with Les Bleus. He was a member of the 1998 World Cup winning squad, while also being a runner up in 2006. Henry was a European champion in 2000 and was part of the team that won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.