Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has refused to blame the unsavoury events that occurred before Tuesday's match with West Ham United and their 3-2 defeat.
The United team coach was attacked by missiles thrown by a minority of West Ham fans which cause severe damage. Reports state that the players refused to leave the coach until they could depart safely.
It was a tie which was sure to be a test for United. A test of character, a test of quality and a test of ambition. Needless to say they failed that test.
After a disappointing result van Gaal admitted there is no proof that the bus attack effected the player’s performances, telling the media: “We live in this world, we know it can happen.
“It can have an influence but we cannot look for excuses.”
The United boss also thought that the support from the home fans helped West Ham and was a major influence on the game. Something the Dutchman admits United should have been able to cope with.
United fail the test
United had a desperate first half and weren’t able to handle the occasion as the home side had multiple chances to put the game well out of sight. Luckily for the Red Devils, they went in at the break just one goal behind, and at least Anthony Martial turned up for the occasion.
It did seem for a short while that van Gaal’s side would leave the Boleyn Ground, on their somewhat battered team coach, with three points and knowing that a win against AFC Bournemouth at home on Sunday would safely seal their place in the Champions League next season.
Two quick fire goals from Michail Antonio and Winston Reid, however, saw the Hammers level and then take the lead after Martial had put United ahead.
Champions League dream over?
The Red Devils are now in difficult position and need Swansea City to take all three points against Manchester City on Sunday as well as needing to beat Bournemouth at Old Trafford, in order to qualify for the Champions League next season.
It was always expected that United could slip up against the Hammers. It was their big night to say goodbye to the ground they have called home since 1904.
But it was also United’s big night to prove that, when the situation is tough, they can come through it by showing resolve and character to win. Something which United fans will feel all the more frustrated about.