Feb 13, 2015 08:51:00
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has hit out at Louis van Gaal’s team, labelling their football “miserable” and claiming they do not show enough attacking intent.
Despite sitting third in the Premier League the Red Devils have been criticised for their playing style this season, and were booed off at half-time of their 3-1 win over Burnley on Wednesday.
That followed comments made by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce that United had worn down the Irons with a series of long balls in their 1-1 draw at Upton Park – to which Van Gaal reacted by angrily presenting a statistical dossier to journalists at a press conference.
Scholes believes the current squad at Old Trafford are not taking enough risks in moving the ball forward and are suffering because of it.
“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,” he wrote in his column for The Independent.
“They beat Burnley on Wednesday 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.
“As a midfielder at United I had to pass the ball forward and, yes, it did not always work. It did not always mean putting a chance on a plate for the strikers. It was up to them to get on the ball and score goals.
“Was it easy? No, but we were playing for United. It was not supposed to be easy.
“Of the current team, Angel Di Maria has taken more risks than any other player and, unfortunately, for him it has not worked out. He has given the ball away a lot for very little return.
“Otherwise there seems to be an emphasis on possession. I would go further than that: there is an obsession with possession.”
United’s struggles have not been helped by the lack of goals provided by Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie – the pair have managed just 14 Premier League goals so far this term and have been criticised at times for their apparent lack of work-rate.
And Scholes cannot understand why a proven goalscorer in Wayne Rooney is being forced into midfield to allow the duo to play together.
“I feel they [Van Persie and Falcao] look like strangers at times, while Wayne Rooney is moved around the team to accommodate them,” he added.
“Wayne can play anywhere on the pitch. He is so willing, and he will give you at least a 7/10 performance most times.
“Against Burnley he ended up as a defensive midfielder. At other times he has been pushed out to the right-hand side, where he will look for the strikers early or switch the play.
“But if Van Gaal does not think Rooney is a better option up front than the other two then there really is a problem.”