Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted that FC Midtjylland striker Paul Onuachu gave his team a plethora of problems when he came on as a second-half substitute during their disappointing 2-1 loss in the Europa League on Thursday (18 February). Apart from that, the manager has also blamed his team's inability to win the second ball during their duels as another reason for their loss, which now leaves them desperate for a win in the second leg of the last 32 tie against the Danish team.
The Red Devils took the lead through Memphis Depay in the 37 minute and looked to be in control of the game but their lead lasted under 10 minutes when Pione Sisto equalised for the Super League club just a minute before the half-time interval. This gave Midtjylland confidence and saw them match and dominate United in the second half and Onuachu, who made his entrance in the 60th minute in place of Martin Pusic, scored the winner with a rasping shot from outside the box to hand them the initiative ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford on 26 February.
The Dutch manager hopes to curb the striker's influence when Midtjylland visit Manchester in a week's time for the second leg. Van Gaal praised his entire team's attitude but is hoping that his team can challenge them better for the second balls and keep possession as they look to progress to the next round of the competition.
"We had a lot of difficulty with him and we have to cope better with that. Maybe he shall play at Old Trafford and we have to cope with that problem. We had a lot of problems with him, we had less with Pusic," the Red Devils manager said, as quoted by United's official site.
"It is nothing to do with attitude. All of the players want to perform in an excellent way so attitude is not the case. We were not winning the second balls. That is my analysis," Van Gaal added.