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Video - Misery piles on for Van Gaal after Europa League defeat

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Van Gaal has nowhere to hide after his latest defeat
Van Gaal has nowhere to hide after his latest defeat

Louis van Gaal's tenuous grip on power at Manchester United was loosened once again as his side slumped to a 2-1 against FC Midtjylland in Denmark in the first leg of their Europa League tie.

An injury-hit United side were still expected to sweep their Danish opponents aside with a degree of ease as they eye up an extended run in the Europa League.

What followed was the latest disastrous performance from Van Gaal's side, with the slow patient football he promotes not enough to unsettle opponents who grew in confidence as the match progressed. 

Memphis Depay's close-range finish put United in front in the 37th minute, but Pione Sisto - capitalising on a Michael Carrick error - equalised seven minutes later, and a fine strike from Midtjylland substitute Paul Onuachu (below) with 13 minutes to go then handed the Danish champions victory on the night.

It left Van Gaal looking for more excuses, as his side failed to have now failed to win 21 of their last 39 competitive matches.

"We scored and could have scored more," declared Van Gaal, as he tried to find a silver lining in his side's lamentable display.

"In the second half, we didn't win any second balls and we could not avoid the second goal.

"When you play with another team evert week and with other players, it is difficult," he added, clearly suggesting his squad's injury woes were the primary reason for this latest setback.

Man Utd captain Michael Carrick was evidently downbeat in his BT Sport interview, as he accepted the display was not up to scratch.

"It's not good enough, not acceptable," accepted Michael Carrick. "The performance is nowhere near good enough and it has to be better. We caused a lot of our own problems, all in all it's just not good enough.

"It was there for us to win the game, we should have won that but we go home very disappointed. The only positive we can take is that we have a chance to put it right next week.

"It won't be easy but at home we still fancy our chances. We have given ourselves a tough job. We have to give everything we can."

It remains to be seen whether this latest defeat is the final straw for United's owners just a few days after their loss at Sunderland, with Van Gaal seemingly keen to continue despite a fresh storm of protest set to flow in his direction.