Louis van Gaal admits Manchester United’s draw at Aston Villa could end up costing them the title.
Radamel Falcao cancelled out Christian Benteke’s opener but United’s six-game winning run ended with a 1-1 draw.
Gabby Agbonlahor was harshly sent off for Villa with 25 minutes left but the visitors could not break down their organised hosts.
It left van Gaal’s side third in the Barclays Premier League, seven points behind leaders Chelsea, and the boss felt draws at places like Villa Park would rule his side out of the title race.
“Yes, that’s what I mean,” he said.
“We dropped two points. We were the better team and that’s frustrating when you’re the better team and you don’t win these kind of games. When you want to be a part of the title race you have to win these games.
“I have seen Manchester City in the first half against Crystal Palace and they could have been behind in the first five or 10 minutes. They struggled until half time but at the end it is 3-0, that’s the difference.
“We weren’t so aggressive in the first half as we are usually. We kept the ball much better but didn’t create so much because we were not looking for the forwards.
“It was not good enough to catch the victory here.
“We were not creative enough in the second half but we had more aggression so that was the plus.
“We have a draw and that’s why I’m a little frustrated because you could have won the game in my opinion. We didn’t do it but we were responsible for that.”
Falcao scored just his second goal for United, heading in Ashley Young’s second-half cross, and van Gaal was pleased with his impact.
“It was a beautiful goal, I liked him today. I am very happy for him and I am always happy when Manchester United score,” he said.
“I have to compare players every week, there’s always a question for every player, not only for Falcao.”
Villa held firm despite Agbonlahor’s red card and boss Paul Lambert was left baffled why he was dismissed by referee Lee Mason after what looked like just collision with Young.
“If that’s a red card you might as well pack up because it won’t be a game of football. I spoke to Brad Guzan after the game and he said Ashley Young admitted he felled Gabby, so work that one out,” said Lambert who will look at appealing.
“That’s not a red card, I will stick up for him all day long. It’s a tackle where two lads have gone in for the ball.
“He is not going to spring up and say ’don’t send him off’, it would be a first in world football. Man Utd want to win the game and we want to.”
But Lambert was full of praise for his side, missing the suspended Kieran Richardson and Alan Hutton with Ashley Westwood injured and United loanee Tom Cleverley ineligible, after the point left them 12th.
He said: “I thought we were excellent considering everything has gone against us this week, injuries suspensions and ineligibility. Look at our bench, it was a kindergarten. The performance was absolutely terrific.
“Christian scored a world class goal and gives you something to hold onto.”