MANCHESTER, December 20- Louis van Gaal conceded his Manchester United flops are lacking in confidence after slamming their performance in a shock 2-1 defeat against Norwich.
Van Gaal’s side have gone six matches without a win after Norwich secured their first victory at Old Trafford since 1989.
Strikes either side of half-time from Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey gave the visitors a two-goal lead on Saturday and Anthony Martial’s reply for United couldn’t spark a revival from the lacklustre hosts.
Van Gaal has come in for increasing criticism from fans and former players over the cautious style of his team’s play and United were once again booed off by the disgruntled home crowd.
Their poor run has seen them eliminated from the Champions League and drop out of the Premier League’s top four.
And Van Gaal’s critics will hardly be reassured by his admission that confidence is low in a United team that managed just two shots on target against opponents who began the day in the relegation zone.
“What you have seen today is what a lack of confidence can do. It was not good enough,” Van Gaal said.
“This is our first defeat of the season at Old Trafford. It’s confirmation that we are in a very bad period and we have to come out it.
“That is difficult because otherwise we would have done it today. You have to win against Norwich. You have to win every home game.
“The problem is how we come out of this bad period. That can be done when you stick together, not only the players, the manager and his staff but also the fans, because that is very important.
“Every word that I say about the defeat is one word too much because the expectation is that we should win against Norwich, and we didn’t do that.”
– Intense analysis –
With questions being asked about Van Gaal’s chances of remaining in the job beyond this season, the Dutchman added that he and his staff would carry out an intense analysis of the Norwich defeat in an effort to improve in their next two fixtures — at Stoke on Boxing Day and at home to Chelsea on December 28.
“We have to evaluate what we have done today and how we have prepared this match, and tomorrow we shall evaluate what we have done as a staff and a team in order to make things better against Stoke City,” he said.
“Then two days after that, we have to play against Chelsea, so we have to show our professional attitude to improve and regain our confidence.”
Norwich manager Alex Neil suggested that the win at Old Trafford was the best result of his fledgling career.
“Arguably it is,” he said. “Looking at the gulf between the two sides and the resources United have got, you can say that.
“But when you go on to the pitch, it’s 11 v 11, and you have to do as well as you can.
“We have the strength in the team whereas bigger sides have individual players who can win games. We’re always working as a group, and we hope that will benefit us.
“Whatever game you go into, you’ve always a got a chance. If you look at our performances this season against the bigger teams, you can see that.
“So there was no way we were going to get turned over by four or five goals. We’ve been really competitive in these games.
“We felt if we limited the mistakes we made, we would give ourselves a chance. We felt we would have enough quality to make some chances. That was the way the game ended up.”