It is safe to assume Louis Van Gaal was not bored by his team last night in a thrilling 3-3 scoreline at St. James park.
Wayne Rooney’s penalty and Jesse Lingard’s finish put Manchester United 2-0 up before Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty for Newcastle leveled the scores.
Rooney’s – 79th minute – second goal of the night looked to have won it for Van Gaal and given Steve McClaren that feeling that the game was settling into a familiar pattern of defeat but it was a night of defensive imperfections as Paul Dummett salvaged the draw for Newcastle in the last minute.
The point earned is not enough to lift Newcastle out of the bottom three – they remain a point and place behind 17th-placed Swansea – and United slipped to sixth, but both managers expressed cautious reason to believe they can keep their jobs and bring desired changes to their teams.
For Van Gaal’s side, it will represent two points lost and a step backwards after back-to-back Premier League and FA Cup victories had offered improvement on a winless December and he has suggested his players are to blame for those two points lost.
“Of course it feels like a defeat … we are very disappointed, we’ve lost very expensive points, 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.”
McClaren on the hand could only see positives from the night and was clearly impressed by the club’s acquisition of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
I think there’s a lot more to come from him, I’m delighted to have signed Jonjo Shelvey,” he said.
“I tried to sign him last summer. He’s English, he’s in the England team and I think there’s a lot more to come from him.” He feels much the same about his team as a whole. Manchester United are a quality team but at the end of the night we’ve shown what we’re all about, we’ve shown character, attitude. By the end we actually had more possession that Manchester United.”
The midfielder is expected to make his debut at home to West Ham United on Saturday.