Van Gaal bemoans Man Utd display despite Roma win

The Dutchman conceded his side had been affected by the heat and altitude of Denver but was disappointed at their inability to keep the ball in the second half

Louis van Gaal insisted he was far from pleased with Manchester United’s performance despite their 3-2 win over Roma in Denver on Saturday.

A double from Wayne Rooney and a Juan Mata strike put United in a commanding position before Roma hit back with two unanswered goals of their own in the second half at Sports Authority Field.

It was United’s second consecutive win in their pre-season tour of the United States and the Premier League side’s first in the International Champions Cup.

But Van Gaal was still critical of United’s display, though he did concede the heat played a big factor as his team faltered after the break, despite regular drinks breaks.

“I am pleased that we have won but it was not a good performance,” said the Dutchman, who lamented the kick-off time during his pre-game conference.

“54,000 people came to watch us but we can perform much better.

“We are not used to this hot weather. I think we didn’t play a good match because of the height of the stadium, the air, because all my good passers failed today.

“I said when the World Cup was here in ’94 it wasn’t wise to play here at noon. America has a top sports climate but you have to play football at the right time.

“When you are 3-0 ahead, the only thing you have to do is keep the ball in possession and then the opponent has to run and run and run. It’s very difficult in this hot weather to do that.

“But we forgot to do that [keep possession] and we brought Roma into the game ourselves.”

While he was disappointed with the state of play, the Dutchman was impressed by the standard of goals on show, from both teams.

Rooney got the ball rolling with a curling effort from outside the penalty area, while Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic delighted the crowd after catching goalkeeper Ben Amos off his line and scoring from inside his own half – similar to David Beckham’s stunning strike against Wimbledon in 1996.

“Some of our passes failed, the ball was bobbling all the time and we didn’t create so much, but we scored three fantastic goals,” he added.

“The pass from Rooney to Mata was unbelievable, despite the heat and the height. Mata was running with his brain at the right moment.

“They also scored one fantastic goal, so then it was 3-1.”

Pjanic dismisses transfer talk: I want to stay at Roma

Despite signing a new contract last month, the 24-year-old remains one of the most coveted midfielders in Europe – but he says he’s going nowhere this summer


EXCLUSIVE
By Mark Doyle in Salvador

Miralem Pjanic has dismissed talk of a move away from Roma, insisting that he has “a great desire” to stay with the Serie A side.

The midfielder last month committed himself to the Giallorossi until 2018 yet he is still being linked with the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

Pjanic reportedly penned a contract extension on the condition that Roma would not then try to cash in on their most valuable asset and he now fully expects to remain at Stadio Olimpico for the start of the new season.

“I’ve signed on for another four years,” the Bosnia-Herzegovina star told Goal after his country’s World Cup win over Iran in Salvador. “I have a great desire to return to Roma.

“The season starts soon and, with both the Champions League and the Scudetto [on offer this season], we’re aiming high.”

A 3-1 defeat of Iran at Arena Fonte Nova was not enough to see the Bosnians progress to the last 16, with their fate having already been sealed by defeats against Argentina and Nigeria, and the 24-year-old admitted that Safet Susic’s side were leaving Brazil with an undeniable sense of regret.

“We can be happy about this game but it’s a little bit of a strange feeling because we’re already going home, so we cannot be so satisfied about that,” Pjanic admitted after Bosnia ended up third in Group F, a point shy of a place in the knockout stage.

“But this game was important for us for our fans, for our supporters. This victory was for them.

“Our team could have made the next round because we have good players and we could have done more than we did in these three games.

“Before this game, we knew that we could not qualify, so it was difficult to find the motivation for this game but the team did very well [against Iran]. We were the better team.

“Unfortunately, against Nigeria [a 1-0 loss], we could have done much more. But we played well here [in Salvador]. We pressed right from the beginning and we didn’t give them much space.

“I think we could have even scored more but this final result was good. Now we have to prepare for our next competition, the Euros.”

Pjanic scored the second goal in Bosnia’s 3-1 victory over Iran, with Edin Dzeko and Avdija Vrsajevic also on target for the tournament debutants.

Pjanic: Nigeria game is important for the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Roma midfielder insists that the players are fired up for their clash with the Super Eagles and says he will be hugely disappointed if they fail to reach the last 16

Miralem Pjanic says he is aware that their game with Nigeria is as important to supporters in Bosnia-Herzegovina as it is for the squad.

The Balkan nation ran Argentina close in their Group F opener, but fell to a 2-1 defeat after an own goal from Sead Kolasinac and an indivdual effort from Lionel Messi, despite replying late on through Vedad Ibisevic.

Pjanic acknowledged that a win in their clash with Nigeria was now essential if they are able to progress beyond the group stages in their maiden World Cup finals and stressed he would be satisfied with nothing less than the chance to reach the last 16.

“This is important, a key match,” the 24-year-old told a press conference.

“We are raring to go. We can hardly wait for it. We know how important it is. If we lose, it’s over. We will not let that happen. We will fight. It is an important match not just for us players but for the whole country. 

“We have certain players who want to bring our national side to the very top. I play for the national side to win. I’m not satisfied with losing.

“This World Cup would be greatly disappointing if we got stuck in the group. This mentality is right. We are never satisfied. After the Argentina game, who are better than us, we were disappointed. It’s the only way to make progress.”

Pjanic also hailed the impact of Muhamed Besic after the 21-year-old’s performance against Argentina.

“Muhamed has made a very good impression on me,” he continued.

“He is a high-quality player, he means a lot to us. We are all satisfied with his efforts, the will he demonstrates, how he plays. I think that we are a much better team as a sum of all our parts and not as individuals.”

Pjanic: We don't fear Argentina

The Roma star says his side possess the quality to challenge anyone on the biggest stage as they prepare for their World Cup opener on Sunday

Miralem Pjanic has insisted Bosnia-Herzegovina have no fear of Argentina ahead of their World Cup clash on Sunday.

Safet Susic’s side go up against the South American giants in their opening match of Group F at the nation’s first ever World Cup. 

And despite the prospect of facing the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, playmaker Pjanic is confident that his country can give Argentina a run for their money.

“We will be against one of the favourites in Argentina, but we have the expertise to challenge them,” he told Sky Sport 24 .

“We do not fear anyone because we believe in our chances.

“Many of us have played in big European tournaments and know how to deal with certain situations.

“Progressing from the group is our goal. Brazil is beautiful, we are realising how fascinating this country is.”

Bosnia-Herzegovina will be making their first ever World Cup finals appearance and follow up their Group F opener with Argentina with matches against Nigeria and Iran.

Pjanic signs three-year contract extension with Roma

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international, who has been heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain, has committed his future to the Serie A giants until 2018

Roma playmaker Miralem Pjanic has signed a three-year contract extension at Stadio Olimpico, tying him to the club until 2018.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international has played a pivotal role in Roma’s return to prominence in Serie A this term, missing just two league games as Rudi Garcia’s side battled with newly-crowned champions Juventus.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have been credited with interest in the 24-year-old, whose deal had been set to expire at the end of next season, but Pjanic has now committed his future to the club until June 2018.

A Roma statement read: “AS Roma wish to announce that an agreement has been reached with Miralem Pjanic for the extension of his current contract, which was was due to expire on June 30, 2015.

“The new agreement is for four years, with an expiration date of June 30, 2018.”

Pjanic is in the Roma side to face Juventus later on Sunday.