Louis van Gaal has identified Philippe Coutinho’s superb individual goal as the main reason for Manchester United’s Europa League exit.
The Red Devils trailed Liverpool 2-0 following last week’s Round of 16 first leg at Anfield but were able to bridge the gap through Anthony Martial’s 32nd-minute penalty after a positive start in the return bout at Old Trafford.
However, Brazilian ace Coutinho skipped around Red Devils full-back Guillermo Varela before deftly chipping David De Gea on the stroke of half-time to ease his side’s nerves and restore their two-goal advantage.
In the end, that was enough as the Reds held United to a 1-1 draw to progress 3-1 on aggregate, drawing the following response from Van Gaal.
“It’s very disappointing because we created enough chances,” he said on BT Sport.
“We know when we are attacking in this way that Liverpool also have counter chances. The way we conceded that goal, in the last seconds of the first half… you could have built up the second half so beautifully but at half-time they were also disappointed.
“In the second half we also had chances, (Marouane) Fellaini with his head and his foot – but you have to score three goals and that’s not too easy.
“If we did not concede that (Coutinho) goal it was possible, I think.”