The coach was satisfied with his side’s performance and said Guillermo Varela and David de Gea were not to blame for Philippe Coutinho’s goal
Louis van Gaal accepted it was “very disappointing” for Manchester United to exit the Europa League to rivals Liverpool, but said his side had enough chances to progress to the quarter-finals.
Liverpool went through 3-1 on aggregate despite falling behind on the night to Anthony Martial’s penalty.
David de Gea made a series of stunning saves to keep United in the match, but he was left helpless when Philippe Coutinho beat Guillermo Varela before lifting home a sumptuous finish as the match ended 1-1 at Old Trafford on Thursday.
“It was very disappointing because we had the chance, that was the feeling in the dressing room,” Van Gaal told BT Sport.
“We created enough chances and we know of course when you are attacking in this way that Liverpool also will have chances on the counter, but the way that we conceded that goal, at half-time, they [the players] were all so disappointed.
“If we didn’t concede that goal I think it [the win] was possible. I was very pleased that the fans are seeing everything and applauded after.
“We tried to do everything, in the second half we also had chances, Fellaini with his head and his foot, but then you have to score three goals and that’s not too easy.
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“But we fought till the end. If we had not concede that goal in the last seconds of the first half, that was critical.”
Van Gaal refused to blame Varela or De Gea for Liverpool’s goal, preferring to praise Coutinho for an inspired run and finish.
“You have to give also credit to Coutinho, it was a fantastic action,” he added.
“You can also say that we have had fantastic actions but you also need a little bit of luck, but when you say that too much as a manager it’s not good.”
United now face a Premier League clash against Manchester City on Sunday, with both sides gunning for the fourth and final Champions League qualification place.
“That’s the schedule we have and we have to cope with it,” Van Gaal said.
“They have given everything and more than everything I think and still we have to play against Manchester City and they have one more day to recover but it was the same against Arsenal and we beat Arsenal.”