- Sunderland vs Man Utd

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Sunday 24 August 2014 | Stadium of Light | Referee: Martin Atkinson | Attendance 43,217

Sunderland
  • Jack Rodwell (30)
Sunderland
1 - 1
Man Utd
  • Juan Mata (17)
Man Utd

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Match report

Louis van Gaal's spluttering start to life at Manchester United continued as they drew 1-1 with Sunderland in the Premier League.

Man United, who lacked fluency at the Stadium of Light, took a 17th-minute lead through Juan Mata against the run of play.

However, they failed to take advantage as an unmarked Jack Rodwell headed in a first-half leveller on his home debut to earn Sunderland a point.

All eyes were again on the Dutchman after United began their campaign with a 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City last week.

As if to add to the pressure, all three of the club's close-season signings – Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo – were unavailable on Sunday.

That they emerged with a point was perhaps a source of relief, with Connor Wickham spurning a great chance for Sunderland just after half-time.

It was the home side who enjoyed the brighter start as the visitors began nervously in possession, with Lee Cattermole, buoyed by a wonder goal against West Bromwich Albion last week, hitting a half-volley just wide.

There were certainly signs of the nerves Van Gaal alluded to last week in his charges' display, although a botched attempt to play out from the back fortuitously led to an opening as Tom Cleverley curled over early on.

But it was Sunderland causing all the problems, the impressive Will Buckley cutting inside to feed Wickham, who could only hit straight at David De Gea with the goal gaping.

Perhaps awoken by that miss, United responded to take the lead as Antonio Valencia found space on the wing and sent a vicious low cross to the back post that Mata was able to tap into an empty net.

But the goal did not bring an improvement in the visitors' general play and Sunderland levelled in the 30th minute, Rodwell heading home Sebastian Larsson's corner at the front post.

United did begin to see more of the ball thereafter, although it was Sunderland who created the first half's final chance when Steven Fletcher's overhead kick went wide.

Whatever Van Gaal said to his players at the interval did not have the desired effect as further poor defending let in Wickham, who saw his fizzing strike turned cleared off the line by Tyler Blackett.

Van Gaal's men then enjoyed a spell of pressure and were denied a penalty when Ashley Young went down under a challenge from former United defender Wes Brown.

The visitors continued to press forward in search of a winner but, despite some nervous Sunderland defending, were not able to find the Midas touch in front of goal.

Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet: "I know Van Gaal very well and if you give him time he will achieve what he promises. I have no doubt.

"I am so pleased Will Buckley had a very good first half because everybody knows why I was so consistent in trying to get him.

"He was electric, direct and he will do plenty of things. We have to be patient with him but he showed why he is here."

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal: "One point: that is not good enough for Manchester United.

"We lost a lot of balls in situations where I don't expect it. We were dominating without creating chances. That is disappointing.

"I think that is down to the confidence. The play was much better in the United States [in pre-season].

"We have to improve but it takes time. You can never say how long it will take. If you win the next game, then confidence is coming back."

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
25. Vito Mannone 6.4 5.08
5. Wes Brown 5.13 3.91
3. Patrick van Aanholt 5.13 3.87
16. John O'Shea 5.78 4.18
27. Santiago Vergini 5.44 3.68
6. Lee Cattermole 6.13 5.31
7. Sebastian Larsson 5.86 4.51
8. Jack Rodwell 6.63 4.58
30. William Buckley 6.38 4.56
9. Steven Fletcher 5.88 5.05
10. Connor Wickham 6.14 5.09
Substitutes All Fans BFR
1. Costel Pantilimon 0.0 2.45
29. Valentin Roberge 5.0 3.67
17. Jozy Altidore 6.17 5.29
14. Jordi Gómez 0.0 3.68
2. Billy Jones 0.0 4.13
4. Liam Bridcutt 0.0 2.83
18. Charalampos Mavrias 0.0 2.89
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. David de Gea 4.29 5.91
12. Chris Smalling 3.25 3.35
4. Phil Jones 3.82 4.81
42. Tyler Blackett 3.29 4.36
24. Darren Fletcher 2.41 3.6
18. Ashley Young 3.38 3.73
25. Antonio Valencia 4.25 5.09
23. Tom Cleverley 2.88 4.43
10. Wayne Rooney 4.06 6.55
8. Juan Mata 6.56 5.82
20. Robin van Persie 3.63 5.8
Substitutes All Fans BFR
41. Reece James 8.0 2.45
14. Javier Hernández 6.67 3.55
19. Danny Welbeck 4.67 6.12
40. Ben Amos 6.67 2.22
26. Shinji Kagawa 5.75 2.79
38. Michael Keane 5.67 2.21
11. Adnan Januzaj 5.13 4.47

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