Paul Scholes has questioned Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s decision to defend his own tactics during a press conference following the 1-1 draw with West Ham.
The Dutchman, who produced a folder of evidence in the form of paper sheets to backup his argument that United had not reverted to a ‘long-ball’ style of play after going a goal down against West Ham, was left miffed with Sam Allardyce’s accusations, but Scholes doesn’t believe he had any need to be.
As relayed by ESPN, the former United midfielder labelled Van Gaal ‘bizarre’ for rising to Allardyce’s bait, questioning why the 63-year-old had offered his opposite number the satisfaction.
Scholes' 'bizarre' claim
"Why would you react to a West Ham manager?" he asked. "It's different if it's a rival manager like Chelsea or Manchester City's, but at the end of the day you're the Manchester United manager.
"I found it all bizarre, to be honest with you, as I felt Allardyce's comments were light-hearted in the first place."
"I found it all bizarre, to be honest with you, as I felt Allardyce's comments were light-hearted in the first place"
The long-ball game
The storm surrounding United’s supposed tactics were given life by the fact that their eventual equaliser against West Ham - scored in injury time by Daley Blind - came as a result of a long-ball pumped into the box.
Following Marouane Fellaini’s introduction from the substitutes’ bench it was a form of attack they looked to take advantage of repeatedly, and ultimately it paid dividends as United came away with a hard-fought point.
Van Gaal defence
Allardyce’s comments post-match may well have been a case of immediate sour grapes, having seen his side robbed of the spoils in the dying seconds, but all the same Scholes is certainly right; by giving him an informed response Van Gaal was leaving himself open to criticism.
His efforts to rubbish the claims made by Allardyce made it clear that he was riled, and in any case feeling the need to plead innocence against the allegation of ‘long-ball’ is strange in itself.
United v Burnley
Next up for the Red Devils is a home clash against strugglers Burnley, where Van Gaal will certainly be expecting to claim maximum points. Under the Old Trafford lights his expensively-assembled squad have looked far more comfortable than on the road, and with Sean Dyche’s side having failed to win any of their last four games across all competitions, they look ripe for the picking.
It will be interesting to see if United revert to the long balls into the box should their plan A not play out as expected, with critics sure to be waiting with eager eyes every time the back-line gets the ball in the last quarter of the match. If they do it will certainly be scrutinised once more after the game; when it is Van Gaal shouldn’t attempt to cover it up.