Goal-shy Manchester United leave Louis van Gaal sweating over European destiny

Frank Dalleres
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Source: Getty

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted to concerns over his misfiring team as they prepare for tonight’s Champions League showdown against Wolfsburg.

United must beat the Group B leaders in Germany to ensure qualification for the last 16; any other result would leave Van Gaal’s men open to an embarrassing group stage elimination.

That mission relies on the visitors scoring – something they have found a struggle in recent weeks. United have struck just five goals from five games in Group B and seven from their last 10 in all competitions.

“Football is about scoring goals, that is the most important aspect,” said the Dutchman.

“As a manager you cannot be pleased when it is like this. You never know for sure that the goals will come, but when you are creating chances you will score and finish them in the end. It’s a matter of time and I hope we can prove it tomorrow.”

United’s task is made more difficult by a litany of injuries, the most notable of which means they are without England striker Wayne Rooney, who has an ankle problem.

Morgan Schneiderlin hurt a hip in Saturday’s goalless draw with West Ham, while Van Gaal is also without fellow midfielder Ander Herrera, winger Antonio Valencia and defenders Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is available for a return to his homeland, despite facing a three-match domestic ban after he was last night charged with violent conduct and accused of elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid.

Yet a squad including fitness doubt Paddy McvNair and youngsters Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Sean Goss looks decidedly threadbare for a fixture that they must win if PSV Eindhoven beat CSKA Moscow.

“It is very important for the club to continue in the Champions League and the players want to show their qualities at the highest level,” Van Gaal added. “You have to prove – as a club, as a team, as players – that you can continue. We cannot depend on the PSV result.”

Wolfsburg’s 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday ended a 29-match unbeaten run at home, where they have won eight of 11 fixtures this season.