13th February, 2015
Manchester United, once a byword for slick attacking football, are playing some “miserable” stuff under manager Louis van Gaal, former United midfielder Paul Scholes believes.
Despite Van Gaal taking United to third in the table in his first season in charge, some critics have attacked the style of play employed by the Dutchman.
Another former United stalwart, Gary Neville, caused a stir when he compared them to a pub side earlier this season, while Scholes is also scathing of their style.
Writing in the Independent newspaper, he said: “At times, United’s football is miserable. To beat opposing teams you have to attack, and to attack you have to take risks. Too few of the players in the current team are prepared to take those risks.”
He explained: “Part of being a Manchester United player under Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps the most important part of being one of United’s attacking players, was that when you were in possession you had to take risks in order to create goalscoring chances. It was not an option; it was an obligation.
“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.
“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.
“It does not give me any pleasure to say that at the moment I am struggling to watch Louis van Gaal’s team with any great enjoyment. They beat Burnley on Wednesday night but it was Burnley who had by far the best of the first half.”
Scholes scored 155 goals for United during their richest period of success.