Friday 19 January 2018

Scholes puts boot into Van Gaal over tactics

Manchester United's Paul Scholes
Manchester United's Paul Scholes

Ex-Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has criticised Louis van Gaal's tactics at Old Trafford by suggesting he would have disliked playing under his risk-free regime.

The Red Devils crashed out of the League Cup on penalties to Middlesbrough on Wednesday after failing to score past the Sky Bet Championship side in 120 minutes, despite turning to Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial off the bench.

It was the second straight home game in which United had failed to find the net after Sunday's stalemate with neighbours Manchester City and statistics show Van Gaal's side have accrued fewer shots than the likes of Norwich, Watford and Aston Villa in the Premier League this term.

Scholes, a one-club man who won a plethora of trophies across three decades with United, believes the buck should stop with the manager.

"There's a lack of creativity and risk," he said.


"It's a team now you wouldn't want to play against because they're tightly organised. But it seems he (Van Gaal) doesn't want players to beat men and it's probably not a team I'd have enjoyed playing in."

Much of the flak for United's attacking shortcomings has been directed at captain Rooney, who saw his penalty saved in the shoot-out against Boro. However, Scholes believes it is the system, rather than the man preferred as the fulcrum of the attack, that is flawed.

"The hardest thing to coach is scoring goals and creativity," the 40-year-old added.

"I was at the derby on Sunday and Rooney's movement was brilliant, but when he's playing in that team there's no one prepared to pass to him. I think after 20 minutes you'd be tearing you hair out.

"I played with some brilliant centre forwards and I don't think they could play in this team - the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham. You don't get crosses into the box or midfielders looking for runs."

Van Gaal has urged them to swiftly move on from their League Cup disappointment.

"Tomorrow is another day and the day after tomorrow is already more in preparation of Crystal Palace," he said.

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