- Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw with Leicester City at King Power Stadium in the Premier League
- Jamie Vardy broke Premier League goalscoring record by finding the net in eleventh consecutive game
- Wayne Rooney endured another frustrating evening before being substituted by Louis van Gaal in the 68th minute
- But thoughts turned to the club’s 16th annual Unicef Gala Dinner for the players at Old Trafford on Sunday evening
- Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anthony Martial, Morgan Schneiderlin and Juan Mata were pictured on the red carpet
- United players helped to raise £230,000 for charity on a night praised by Van Gaal and assistant Ryan Giggs
Louis van Gaal and his Manchester United squad returned to Old Trafford to attend the 16th annual Unicef Gala Dinner, after their 1-1 draw with high-flying Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The black tie evening is a standout fixture in United’s social calendar with the players, manager and coaching staff all in attendance. The Red Devils have been partners with the global charity for 16 years – which is the longest of its kind between a sports organisation and a global children’s charity.
The event proved the perfect distraction for the United squad after their disappointing display away to the Foxes on Saturday, and it helped raise £230,000 for the world’s leading children’s organisation.
Club captain Wayne Rooney was among the star players at the event, though there was no sign of his heavily pregnant wife Coleen.
Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and his girlfriend Ana Ivanovic arrive along with goalkeeper David de Gea and his girlfriend Edurne Garica for the 16th annual Unicef Gala Dinner at Old Trafford on Sunday evening
Striker Anthony Martial (left) and his wife Samantha arrive along with midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and girlfriend Camille Sold
Wayne Rooney, left in both images, was without pregnant wife Coleen as he attended with Michael Carrick, right in both images
United goalkeeper Sergio Romero (left) and his wife Eliana Guercio were in attendance with manager Louis van Gaal and his wife Truus
United playmaker Ander Herrera (right) and his girlfriend Isabel Collado; fellow Spaniard Juan Mata arrives with partner Evelina Kamph
De Gea and his girlfriend Edurne face the cameras along with United starlet Jesse Lingard and his girlfriend Emma Hyde
De Gea and partner Garcia pose for a selfie as the evening at Old Trafford got underway following Saturday’s draw with Leicester City
Juan Mata posted this photo from the dinner alongside Rojo, Romero, De Gea, Herrera and their respective partners at their table
Phil Jones posted this image on Twitter the morning after the night out with girlfriend Kaya Hall saying: Had a great evening last night’
While thoughts would surely have lingered back to the Barclays Premier League draw, Van Gaal and assistant Ryan Giggs – celebrating his 42nd birthday – led their squad on a night that produced an altogether better result.
The cash raised on the night will go towards helping Unicef to save the lives of children in Bangladesh where a child dies from drowning every 29 minutes. Young people will be trained as swimming teachers, in basic survival and first aid, while work will be done to raise awareness of the importance of safe swimming.
‘Myself and the players are honoured to be a part of this fantastic partnership and I am delighted that so much money has been raised this evening for Unicef,’ Van Gaal said.
‘These funds will go a long way in helping to save children’s lives in Bangladesh – that is a fantastic result and I’d like to thank everyone who came tonight for their support.’
Giggs added: ‘I’ve done a lot of work with Unicef over the years, the charity is very close to my heart and I’m proud that the club is so supportive. When new players join Manchester United they soon understand the importance of the partnership and that’s why we enjoy attending this event as a team each year.
‘It’s about having a good time but also raising awareness and trying to raise as much money as we can for Unicef to continue to make a difference.’
Back at the King Power Stadium on a day when Jamie Vardy wrote his name into the Premier League history books by scoring in his 11th successive match, Wayne Rooney endured another frustrating afternoon.
(From L-R) United defender Chris Smalling, Dutch midfielder Memphis Depay and Belgium forward Marouane Fellaini arrive for the Gala
Defender Marcos Rojo and partner Eugenia Lusardo were on hand to celebrate United’s partnership with Unicef at the plush event
Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and his partner Bryony Turner arrive as assistant manager Ryan Giggs hailed Unicef’s work
United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward arrives for the 16th annual United for Unicef Gala Dinner at Old Trafford
Long-serving United duo Ashley Young and Carrick pose together in the executive suite at Old Trafford for Sunday’s celebrations
The United striker struggled to make an impact on the contest before being substituted for Dutch forward Memphis Depay in the 68th minute.
Earlier in the game, Vardy had fired Leicester into the lead with his record-breaking strike in the 24th minute. United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger equalised for the visitors just before the break.
Neither side could make the breakthrough in the second-half as Manchester City seized top spot in the Premier League following their 3-1 victory over Southampton.
‘I’m very disappointed,’ said United boss Van Gaal following his side’s stalemate. ‘When you want to champion at the end of the season, and we want that, the players want that, the manager wants that, the fans want that, then you have to win this kind of games.’
Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring for an eleventh consecutive Premier League fixture to beat Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record
Manchester United midfielder Schweinsteiger levelled the scores with a header from inside the box just before half-time
Manchester United skipper Rooney shakes hands with United boss Van Gaal after being substituted in the second half
‘We played a fantastic game defensively. Only we don’t have to do that in particular situations. They scored after our corner kick, so you have to blame ourselves because we showed them the images and this is a characteristic of this team. And still it happened. That is not possible
‘Then they had one chance more that was five minutes after the goal and then one in second half. They were the only chances we have playing away against a team that scored 28 goals. It is not a lack of defence but a lack of concentration in particular moments. And in spite of our dominance and having more chances we didn’t win in such an important game as today.’
Others have not been so kind with former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel laying into Van Gaal’s ‘boring’ tactics after Saturday’s draw.
‘Historically Manchester United fans expect something else. It’s a working man’s club, where people come and have some relief for the week, get entertained,’ Schmeichel told Sky Sports.
Rooney looks on as he sits down on the bench after another frustrating evening for the forward ended without a goal
‘I became a Manchester United fan when they won very little, but they always played well, always played entertaining football, always had exciting players.
‘It only came with Alex Ferguson, that he combined the two things – entertaining players and winning. This is what Manchester United fans are complaining about.
‘The fans can demand entertaining football and I think they should keep demanding it.’
United’s next assignment is at home to West Ham at Old Trafford before their crunch Champions League clash with Wolfsburg on December 8.
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