posted at 19:50
Author Name: Tom Williams
Van Gaal says beaten Manchester United getting closer
After drawing 1-1 with league leaders Chelsea the previous weekend, United lost 1-0 at derby rivals Manchester City on Sunday, with Sergio Aguero scoring the winning goal after United defender Chris Smalling was sent off. Aguero struck in the 63rd minute after Smalling was shown two yellow cards in the first half for attempting to block a clearance by Joe Hart and then sliding in on James Milner, but United finished the match strongly. Van Gaal's assessment of United's display was echoed by his captain Wayne Rooney, who played as a deep-lying number 10 on his return to the team after a three-match suspension. City's victory brought them four consecutive league successes over United for the first time since 1970 and ended a damaging run of three matches without a win in all competitions. The English champions face a key Champions League fixture at home to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday and City captain Vincent Kompany said the victory over United would allow his team to approach the game with confidence. United finished the game with midfielder Michael Carrick and 19-year-old Paddy McNair at centre-back, while an injury to Rafael da Silva meant that winger Antonio Valencia started the game at right-back. With Phil Jones and Jonny Evans currently sidelined, Van Gaal has a defensive headache ahead of United's next game at home to Crystal Palace, but he believes there is sufficient depth in his squad to compensate. "We have still 11 players to play and also very good players, so I don't cry for that. It is sometimes difficult to select the best team, but I think I can manage that."

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