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United “loads better”, but players to blame for Newcastle draw

Paul Dummett shoots to score via a massive deflection in last minute for Newcastle. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Paul Dummett shoots to score via a massive deflection in last minute for Newcastle. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Paul Dummett shoots to score via a massive deflection in last minute for Newcastle. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Staunch Van Gaal critic and former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes was happy after his old team’s performance against Newcastle United at St James’ Park, despite the game ending in a draw.

Manchester United displayed the vigour of old, scoring three goals in an end-to-end affair which also saw them concede three.

“Loads better,” Scholes told BT Sport of United’s play. “To go and watch Manchester United, whether it’s home or away, is entertainment, it’s goals – whether you concede goals or whether you can score goals.

“Tonight that was like watching a Manchester United team. OK, they didn’t win but they should have won, really. [Marouane] Fellaini’s header – what a chance to make it 4-2 – and Jesse [Lingard] has had a great chance, and that’s just what I expect.

“I expect positive play from Manchester United all the time, whether you’re at home or away. Sometimes it’s a little bit easier to do it away from home, actually, when a team comes out at you and really has a go like Newcastle did. Now they have to try and transfer this type of form to Old Trafford.”

However, the manager Louis Van Gaal wasn’t appreciative of his side throwing away two crucial points. United are now sixth on the table.

“Of course it feels like a defeat … we are very disappointed, we’ve lost very expensive points,” he said. “We have only ourselves to blame because we could have won this match. We missed big chances to win it. We were the better team. We have scored three goals but only have one point. So now is the defence weak? No. We were unlucky in decisions of the referee and a deflected shot and we did not finish our chances.”

Wayne Rooney opened the scoring with a penalty after referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot early on in a debatable handball decision against Chancel Mbemba. He then turned provider for Jesse Lingard with an excellent reverse pass. Newcastle bounced back before the break, with Georginio Wijnaldum scoring a poacher’s goal.

The second half was all Newcastle, who launched wave after wave of attacks, the United midfield and back four struggling to cope with the assault. The hosts finally had their breakthrough when Mike Dead awarded another penalty, this time punishing Chris Smalling for almost wrestling Aleksandar Mitrovic out of his shirt in the box. The striker scored from the spot to level the game.

However, Van Gaal wasn’t happy with the decision: “We have given it away. I have told that to my players. When the referee gives a penalty for nothing – it is a duel I think and you cannot decide who is worse – but we gave it away.”

10 minutes from time, Wayne Rooney seemed to have closed out the game with a superb first-touch goal after some good work down the left flank by substitute Memphis Depay. Depay took aim, the ricochet rolled towards to Rooney who lashed a right boot to send the ball curling beyond Elliot and into the top right corner.

However, moments from time, Paul Dummett raced onto a loose ball at the edge of the United area and smashed a shot in to send the crowd into delirium. The ball took a massive deflection off Chris Smalling leaving David de Gea no chance in goal.

In the end it was perhaps a fitting scoreline, but Van Gaal will disagree.

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