Paul Scholes has launched an unnerving attack on Manchester United’s squad, claiming both that the side are miserable to watch and that they do not follow the same ethos as teams the club has assembled in the past.
The Old Trafford hero, who has been at the centre of a number of critical storms regarding his old club, used his column in the London Evening Standard to tear into Louis van Gaal’s current setup, suggesting that the Dutchman needed to command his side to attack with more panache.
The Red Devils have looked uninspired at times going forward this term, and their drab performance against Burnley mid-week - where they relied on a brace from defender Chris Smalling and a Robin van Persie penalty - brought many of the frustrations felt in the stands to a head.
As Scholes has made clear, he agrees with the vast majority of barbs being aimed United’s way, as he accused them of taking too few risks.
"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," Scholes wrote.
"They beat Burnley on Wednesday night but it was Burnley who had by far the best of the first half. 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."
"At times, United’s football is miserable"
Despite the ex-England international’s dim view Van Gaal has led his team to third place in the Premier League, and the objective of securing Champions League football looks increasingly like being fulfilled successfully. The question to be put to the masses is whether or not they’re happy with a substance-over-style approach, and in many cases the answer is no.
Settling for less than perfect?
However if Van Gaal can guarantee qualification into Europe’s premier competition then the season will be written into the history books as an overall success. The task facing the Dutchman at the start of the season was monumental with regards to striking a fine balance between a number of aspects, and perhaps fans - and indeed Scholes - should allow more time for a fluent attacking approach to be developed.
Of course one way to improve his side’s creativity in the final third would be to give captain Wayne Rooney a position higher up the field. Van Gaal insisted after the draw against Burnley that he would have a problem in midfield if Rooney was used as a striker, but even so the sight of him patrolling in the defensive-midfield position commonly associated with the likes of Claude Makelele and Nemanja Matic is one few fans will positively endorse.