Van Gaal: It’s dif­fi­cult to play for United

An­gry fans’ cries to at­tack not help­ing the likes of Rooney find the back of the net No home dis­trac­tions keeps Pi­rates on course

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MA­ZOLA MOLEFE

THE cho­rus of dis­ap­proval that strikes up ev­ery time Manch­ester United strug­gle to find the net is hav­ing a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the play­ers, man­ager Louis van Gaal said yes­ter­day.

Three con­sec­u­tive 0-0 draws pre­ceded Tues­day’s home clash with CSKA Moscow in the Cham­pi­ons League and fans voiced their dis­plea­sure as Van Gaal’s side toiled to break down the Rus­sians be­fore cap­tain Wayne Rooney’s late win­ner ended a 404- minute stretch with­out scor­ing.

United have scored only 15 goals in 11 Pre­mier League games, the low­est to­tal of the top seven, and need a vic­tory at home to West Bromwich Al­bion to­day to main­tain the pres­sure on lead­ers Manch­ester City and Arse­nal.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day at a news con­fer­ence, the Dutch- EPL Fix­tures TO­DAY Bournemouth v New­cas­tle United, Vi­tal­ity Sta­dium, 2.45pm West Ham United v Ever­ton, Bo­leyn Ground, 5pm Sun­der­land v Southamp­ton, Sta­dium of Light, 5pm Nor­wich City v Swansea City, Car­row Road, 5pm Manch­ester United v West Bromwich Al­bion, Old Traf­ford, 5pm Le­ices­ter City v Wat­ford, King Power Sta­dium, 5pm Stoke City v Chelsea, Bri­tan­nia Sta­dium, 7.30pm TO­MOR­ROW As­ton Villa v Manch­ester City, Villa Park, 3.30pm Liver­pool v Crys­tal Palace, An­field, 6pm Arse­nal v Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, Emi­rates Sta­dium, 6pm man said the fans should di­rect their ire at him, not the play­ers.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult to play for Manch­ester United with a lot of pres­sure and you can taste that in Old Traf­ford be­cause of all the yelling, so it’s bet­ter to whis­tle the man­ager, I can cope with it.”

United were well known for their at­tack­ing verve un­der former man­ager Sir Alex Fergu- OR­LANDO PI­RATES as­sis­tant coach Te­hogo Moloi has re­vealed the se­cret to the club’s chang­ing for­tunes fol­low­ing back-to-back PSL wins – one against Kaizer Chiefs and then away to Ajax Cape Town four days later – for the first time since March.

Moloi is des­per­ate to see the win­ning streak con­tinue this af­ter­noon when the Buc­ca­neers face ri­vals Chiefs for a sec­ond suc­ces­sive week­end, in the semi-fi­nal of the Telkom Knock­out at the FNB Sta­dium.

The Sea Rob­bers won last week’s league derby 3-1 thanks to goals from Issa Sarr, Ayanda Gcaba and Tham­sanqa Gabuza, while Eric Mathoho got Amakhosi’s only strike.

“We were in camp a lit­tle bit longer than usual be­cause the play­ers only had Sun­day and Mon­day off be­fore we met son but un­der Van Gaal they have strug­gled to turn pos­ses­sion into chances.

Against CSKA in mid­week the fans shouted “at­tack, at­tack” and jeered when Van Gaal took off French striker An­thony Mar­tial and brought on Marouane Fel­laini in his place.

“I think we have at­tacked again af­ter the derby to face Ajax,” Moloi, who is coach Eric Tin­kler’s sec­ond in com­mand, said.

“This is usu­ally what works for us when we play in the con­ti­nent (the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup, where they have reached the fi­nal). The play­ers are forced to look out for one an­other and they are in an en­vi­ron­ment where no one knows who they are.

“But that changes as soon as we get home be­cause, and we have to ad­mit, our play­ers em­brace their ex­trav­a­gant life­styles.”

It wasn’t just the mere fact that Pi­rates won two league matches in a row for the first time in eight months, but the com­pelling man­ner in which they brushed Chiefs aside.

Ajax put up a bit of a fight in the Mother City on Wed­nes­day but even with a weak­ened side fol­low­ing Tin­kler’s de­ci­sion to for 85 min­utes of the 90 against CSKA so we have given a lot of en­ter­tain­ment,” Van Gaal said.

“It is about goals. It is dif­fi­cult to dis­or­gan­ise the teams with 10 men be­hind the ball. If two teams at­tack it is eas­ier.”

He also sug­gested United had “made his­tory” by beat­ing CSKA.

“CSKA played last year rest some of his key men, the Buc­ca­neers were worth the three points in a 2-1 tri­umph.

“It is tempt­ing to have the play­ers around each other much longer be­fore we play, but we are well aware of the chal­lenges to pull it off. They can eas­ily come up with ex­cuses to go out, like want­ing to see their fam­i­lies or go­ing to the bank,” Moloi said. “There’s none of that when we are trav­el­ling in the con­ti­nent. Their heads are in the right frame of mind and they are en­tirely fo­cused.

“And at home, they hear and read a lot about what is be­ing said about them in the pa­pers. They have of­ten al­lowed that to af­fect them.”

That of­fers an insight into why Pi­rates were so de­ter­mined against Ajax. But what about the league derby prior to hav­ing to fly to Cape Town?

“When we are writ­ten off, we come up with re­sults,” against Manch­ester City at home and they won,” he said.

“Even in the golden age of Manch­ester United they could not win at home –- a lucky 3-3 at Old Traf­ford, so we have made his­tory.”

Van Gaal hopes Mor­gan Schneiderlin will be avail­able to face West Brom, al­though Mat­teo Darmian is sus­pended. Moloi said.

“We asked the play­ers not to read too much into the crit­i­cism and we knew that the derby it­self was a mo­ti­va­tor.

“I think it is clear that our play­ers also have big- match tem­per­a­ment but some how, in our other do­mes­tic games, fa­tigue creeps in and there’s a men­tal shift. Whether they win or lose, they re­treat into their own lit­tle co­coon.”

Pi­rates play­ers – and their Chiefs coun­ter­parts – dis­perse for na­tional duty soon af­ter the derby, un­til both teams are back in ac­tion on Novem­ber 21, with the Buc­ca­neers host­ing Tu­nisia’s Etoile du Sa­hel in the first leg of the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup fi­nal.

If in­deed Tin­kler and Moloi have fi­nally put their fin­gers on what makes the squad tick, then why not find a sanc­tu­ary ahead of this week­end’s mas­sive en­counter?

● As­ton Villa’s new man­ager Remi Garde be­lieves he can re­verse his side’s wretched run and lift them off the bot­tom of the Pre­mier League, but stopped short of guar­an­tee­ing their top-flight sur­vival. Villa be­gan the sea­son by beat­ing Bournemouth but have since lost nine of 10 league games, in­clud­ing their last seven, a run that re­sulted in the club part­ing com­pany with Garde’s pre­de­ces­sor, Tim Sher­wood, last month.

Villa, ever present in the Pre­mier League since its cre­ation in 1992, an­nounced that 49-year-old former Olympique Ly­on­nais coach Garde had signed a four-year con­tract on Mon­day.

Garde said fans should not ex­pect mir­a­cles.

“I’m not a dreamer or a magic man,,” he said ahead of his first game in charge, against lead­ers Manch­ester City to­mor­row.

“I haven’t the cer­tainty we will stay in the Pre­mier League but I have a strong be­lief we will do it.” – Reuters

EPA

IT TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH: Wayne Rooney cel­e­brates break­ing his goal drought against CSKA Moscow at Old Traf­ford on Tues­day.

BACKPAGEPIX

LOWDOWN: As­sis­tant coach Te­hogo Moloi says con­ti­nen­tal lessons are help­ing Pi­rates.

STEVE KOM­PHELA: ‘We need to con­cen­trate more’

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