Man Utd crisis: what Leicester result means for Van Gaal
United's failings exposed by Leicester as Van Gaal's side are humiliated by newly-promoted Foxes
Manchester United were humiliated by Leicester City on Sunday afternoon as the Red Devils' defence imploded in spectacular fashion and Louis van Gaal's side threw away a 3-1 lead to lose 5-3 to the Premier league new boys at the King Power stadium.
It was, notes the Daily Telegraph, the first time in 853 games that United had thrown away a two-goal lead to lose. It was also their third defeat in six games this season and "one can only wonder how severe the inquest would have been had David Moyes still been in charge", adds the paper.
Afterwards United boss Van Gaal accused his players of "losing their heads" to allow Leicester back into the match. "We gave it away," he said. "They didn't have to create a lot of chances. We were two goals ahead. You need to kill the game and we didn't do that."
So what does the stunning result say about Van Gaal's side?
It exposes transfer folly
Angel di Maria, the most expensive player to arrive in the Premier League, scored a fine goal for Man United, but it was Leicester journeyman Jamie Vardy who stole the show with two goals on his Foxes debut. And his performance highlighted United's problems, says The Independent. "On an afternoon when Manchester United started for the first time with their full £150m worth of expensive new recruits, the folly of their fur coat and no knickers approach to team building was exposed by a striker who cost Leicester City £1m from Fleetwood Town."
Vardy upstaged Radamel Falcao (who is earning almost £300,000 a week) to "highlight the vulnerabilities only too evident at the heart of [United's] top-heavy team."
Inexperience at the back
"United were exhilarating going forward," says the Telegraph. "But Van Gaal should have paid more money and attention on his defence." Tyler Blackett, the 20-year-old defender drafted into the team this season "is too inexperienced to be learning his trade during a period of transition", says the paper. His red card only added to United's problems.
Do United lack fight?
Leicester and United started with almost identical formations, says Michael Cox in The Guardian. Both teams played with a midfield diamond, which meant six strikers were on the pitch from the start.
Leicester's victory was down to their will to win. "[Manager Nigel] Pearson's tactical nous, combined with some old-fashioned, Championship-style physicality to bully United's superstars, meant Leicester deservedly won," he says.
"United fans thought they had seen it all last year with the turmoil of the David Moyes reign," says the Telegraph. "His tenure broke numerous unwanted records and ended numerous proud streaks. But now the club is at it again." The paper does not pull any punches as it outlines United's problems.
Never have United had so few points after five games, and never have they been so low in the Premier League table at this point of the season – they are currently 12th with five points. It was also the first time United have conceded four or more goals against a promoted side.
"United have conceded 12 goals in six games under Van Gaal. It took 11 games for Moyes's team to concede 12," adds the paper. It twists the knife even further by placing the result fifth in its list of United's ten most humiliating defeats.
Time for Van Gaal to deliver
"Now we really will find out if Louis van Gaal is a genius," says Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail. His experiment with three at the back was shortlived but even with a traditional back four they were humbled by Leicester.
"They had no Champions League in the week and plenty of time to work on their defensive system. There were no excuses and to concede five goals against a newly promoted club is appalling," says Redknapp. "It just goes to show there is more to their problems than just systems."