Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admitted that he was “worried” about his team’s goal-scoring performance after yet another goalless draw against PSV Eindhoven left their Champions League campaign in the balance.
A victory on Wednesday would have taken United into the last 16, but with Jesse Lingard blazing their best chance over the bar in the second half, the English club must now win away to Group B leaders Wolfsburg in their final group stage match to be certain of a place in the Last 16.
United have scored only six goals in their last eight games, four of which have been 0-0 draws, but while van Gaal admitted to feeling concerned, he also drew encouragement from the handful of chances his side had created.
“Of course I am worried, but I know also that goals are coming and going,” he told his post-match press conference at Old Trafford.
“It’s not a consequence of good or bad performances. Today (Wednesday) we could have scored at least three goals. They were not the most difficult chances, but we didn’t score.”
United captain Wayne Rooney, who returned from illness, complained afterwards that his team were “not ruthless enough” and Van Gaal concurred with the striker’s evaluation.
But when asked to explain his team’s shortcomings, the manager replied: “The real reason you never know.”
Wolfsburg are unbeaten in 29 home games in the Bundesliga, but United defeated them 2-1 at Old Trafford in September and van Gaal believes that his side are more effective on the road.
“We are still second, so we are still on the qualifying position,” he said.
“We have won our home match against Wolfsburg, so why can’t we win in Wolfsburg? And our away average is much higher than last year.”
United could qualify for the last 16 without winning at the Volkswagen Arena, but only if they match PSV’s result at home to CSKA Moscow, who can no longer qualify for the knockout stages.