Louis Van Gaal is slowly becoming the most entertaining manager to listen ahead of the Premier League fixture. The veteran veteran Dutchman was at his fiery best yet again as he ripped in West Ham manager Sam Allardyce’ claim of Manchester United being a long-ball team and went on to the extent of calling Van Gaal’s men as Long Ball United.
Allardyce’s exact comments were:
“In the end we couldn’t cope with Long-ball United. It’s not how you normally see United play, but it got them a goal in the end.”
Van Gaal was clearly not happy with the claims Allardyce made after West Ham gave away their 1-0 lead1 after Daley Blind’s late equalizer. Van Gaal was today speaking ahead of United’s game against Burnley and he was in clear mood to respond to Allardyce’s remarks.
Van Gaal had come with four of A4 pamphlets covering stats from the West Ham which according to him proves that his side were not using long balls just to lump balls forward to the big guys Marouane Fellaini, Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao. Van Gaal handed those pamphelst out to the journalists for correct interpretations.
One of the pamphlets read the total number of passes attempted by both teams and the %age of long balls over 25 Meters being attempted of those passes. As per Van Gaal’s stats, West Ham had attempted 200 passes with 71% of Long Balls whereas Red Devils attempted 343 passes with only 49% of those being the long balls.
Van Gaal further explained that most of his team’s long balls take place while switching the play diagonaly. He indicated with one of the pamphlets how many United’s long balls were played wide (Blue Arrows), how many balls were lumped forward (Red Arrows). He also compared it with how West Ham’s long balls were directed. Take a look at Van Gaal’s dossier at today’s Press Conference
Van Gaal was fairly unkind to the journalist who asked him the question about Allardyce’s comments of Long Ball United. United’s manager first asked him about what was his opinion on Big Sam’s remarks. Understandably the Journalist said, “My opinions hardly matter, its your opinion which matters”.
Van Gaal really took to him and replied about how the media recently has been writing all sorts of stuffs about Van Gaal’s team’s performance and players and the tactics and when asked about the opinion in person, no one has anything to say about it.
Van Gaal was more annoyed with Allardyce’s jibe because throughout his stint at Old Trafford the Dutchman has vowed to play attractive football and Allardyce’s comments suggest otherwise. To counter Big Sam, Van Gaal illustrated how United had 60% of the possession and stated, “You cannot have that much of possession playing just with the Long Balls”.
Van Gaal was ready with all the questions that were thrown to him. On being asked about Fellaini’s heavy involvement in United’s long ball tactics, Van Gaal with a smile pointed out that, Fellaini was not even on the pitch till the 70th minute. He found United were not scoring playing along the floor so he sent the Belgian powerhouse and it worked. Unite did manage to score the equalizer with Fellaini involved big-time.
Some would say there is a merit to Van Gaal’s stats and theories but no one would disagree on the fact that Manchester United have not been pleasing to see on the pitch. They have been playing players out of position and it clearly shows on the pitch from the kind of performances they are delivering.
Van Gaal might wither the storm with his tactical pre-match interview but soon he will have to find results and mix it with an attractive style of play or else he will suffer the backlash of United fans just like David Moyes did.
Quotes Credits: Manutd.com
Images Credits: Twitter