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Van Gaal loses first game at Manchester United

August 16, 2014
Associated Press

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Louis van Gaal lost his first Premier League game with Manchester United on Saturday, with Swansea winning 2-1 to become the first away team since 1972 to open the season with a victory at Old Trafford.

Gylfi Sigurdsson took advantage of poor defending to score the Welsh club's winning goal in the 72nd minute. United captain Wayne Rooney had tied the match after Ki Sung-yeung opened the scoring.

"We never played as a team — that is our error," Van Gaal told BT Sport television. "But I think we have to always keep the head up and use the second step in our process better than we have done today."

Van Gaal was hired by United to revive the 20-time English champions' fortunes after the team finished seventh under David Moyes last season following the retirement of Alex Ferguson.

Van Gaal officially began work only a month ago after leading the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup.

Moyes may be gone, but the same problems remain for United. The main concern for Van Gaal will be on defense. Both Sigurdsson and Ki were unmarked when they beat goalkeeper David de Gea.

There was a clear lack of organization at times, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling looking out of their comfort zone on several occasions thanks to Swansea's enterprising play and neat passing.

United appeared to be missing the experience of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, who all left over the summer.

Old Trafford was silenced in the 28th minute when Swansea took the lead. Tyler Blackett, who was making his United debut on defense, was drawn out of position by Nathan Dyer, who laid the ball off to Sigurdsson. He fed Ki, who fired the ball past a diving De Gea.

Van Gaal sought to inject life into his team at halftime by bringing Nani on for the ineffective Javier Hernandez, who started up front in place of the unfit Robin van Persie.

Eight minutes in, the game was tied. Jones flicked Juan Mata's corner to Rooney, who acrobatically hooked the ball past Lukasz Fabianski.

Van Gaal didn't celebrate, recording the goal on his notepad and looking up with a blank expression.

Rooney then came close to putting United ahead on a free kick, but the ball struck the frame and bounced wide.

Swansea went ahead for good shortly afterward. Although Wayne Routledge mishit Jefferson Montero's cross, the ball fell at the feet of Sigurdsson.

With United fans starting to leave their seats early, United pressed forward in injury time but couldn't create any serious chances.

 
 

 

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