Man Utd: Louis van Gaal not worried by Scholes criticism

Van Gaal not worried by Scholes comments

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is not worried by criticism of his team's style of play from former Old Trafford favourite Paul Scholes.

Ex-midfielder Scholes said United's football was "miserable" and failing the club's attacking traditions.

He wrote in the Independent:external-link "At the moment I'm struggling to watch Van Gaal's team with any great enjoyment."

But Van Gaal replied: "I don't worry about that. Paul Scholes is one of the fans and fans can criticise us."

United sit third in the Premier League after Wednesday's 3-1 victory over Burnley at Old Trafford, a display which Van Gaal "didn't like".

And the Dutchman admitted that after eight months in charge of United he doesn't yet know his best formation having used a flat back four, three at the back and various midfield permutations.

"No, I don't think so," said Van Gaal when asked if he had settled on a preferred set-up. "I have played five or six systems and I am looking still for the balance.

"But this system (4-4-2) is more attractive than normally and I can play with more attacking players. That's the reason I am doing that.

"In spite of the fact that we are looking for the balance, our results are not bad and our defensive organisation is not bad. So, I cannot say that I am very disappointed about that.

"But we have to do it (develop tactics) now and normally you have to do it pre-season."

Scholes, who made his United debut in 1994 and played 676 times for the club while winning 11 Premier League titles, also accused the current players of taking options that are too safe and contrasted the team's style with the tactics adopted by his former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Salford-born player added: "In the periods of my career when I stopped passing the ball forward, or when I stopped looking for the risky pass that might open up a defence, the consequences were the same. The manager stopped picking me.

"I got back into the team when I went back to doing it the way he wanted.

Long-ball Manchester United?
Season (manager)Long balls per gamePremier League ranking
2014-15 (Louis van Gaal)20.913th
2012-13 (Sir Alex Ferguson)18.817th
2013-14 (David Moyes)16.418th

"United's history was built on attacking football, which does not always mean that the team kept clean sheets or did not concede chances.

"Why do you think United have had some of the best goalkeepers in the world over the years? They needed them because the team committed so many players forward."

Former players, including Phil Neville, a team-mate of Scholes at United, and ex-Arsenal and West Ham striker John Hartson, have also criticised United's displays as "really poor", "predictable" and "lacking pace".

Van Gaal also defended his tactics after West Ham boss Sam Allardyce called his side "long-ball United".

Allardyce said he had never seen a United side "hoofing" the ball forward after the teams drew 1-1 at Upton Park last Sunday.

But Van Gaal disputed the assertion at a news conference on Tuesday and presented a dossier to back up his claims.

United play at Preston in the FA Cup on Monday with Van Gaal describing striker Robin van Persie as a doubt for the fifth-round tie with a knock.

Defender Phil Jones is unlikely to feature after picking up a knee injury during the win over Burnley, while midfielder Daley Blind is to be assessed after a head injury.

And Van Gaal said that Michael Carrick had suffered a set-back in his recovery from a calf injury which he sustained at the end of January and which had originally been expected to keep the midfielder out for four weeks.

Statistics handed out by Manchester United
Statistical analysis given out by Manchester United at Monday's news conference

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