Van Gaal’s United not a team Sc­holes would have en­joyed play­ing in

The Herald - Sport - - FOOTBALL -

FORMER Manch­ester United mid­fielder Paul Sc­holes has crit­i­cised Louis van Gaal’s tac­tics at Old Traf­ford by sug­gest­ing he would have dis­liked play­ing un­der his risk-free regime.

United crashed out of the Cap­i­tal One Cup on penal­ties to Mid­dles­brough on Wed­nes­day af­ter fail­ing to score past the Sky Bet Cham­pi­onship side in 120 min­utes, de­spite turn­ing to Wayne Rooney and An­thony Mar­tial off the bench.

It was the sec­ond straight home game in which United had failed to find the net af­ter Sun­day’s stalemate with neigh­bours Manch­ester City and statis­tics show Van Gaal’s side have ac­crued fewer shots than the likes of Nor­wich, Wat­ford and As­ton Villa in the Bar­clays Pre­mier League this term.

Sc­holes, a one-club man who won a plethora of tro­phies across three decades with United, be­lieves the buck should stop with the man­ager.

“There’s a lack of cre­ativ­ity and risk,” he said.

“It’s a team you wouldn’t want to play against be­cause they’re or­gan­ised. But it seems he [Van Gaal] doesn’t want play­ers to beat men and it’s prob­a­bly not a team I’d have en­joyed play­ing in.”

Much of the flak for United’s at­tack­ing short­com­ings has been di­rected at Rooney, who saw his penalty saved in the shoot-out against Boro.

How­ever, Sc­holes be­lieves it is the sys­tem, rather than the man pre­ferred as the ful­crum of the at­tack, that is flawed.

“The hard­est thing to coach is scor­ing goals and cre­ativ­ity,” the 40-year-old added.

Mean­while, the FA will in­ves­ti­gate the di­rect­ing of a laser to­wards Wayne Rooney dur­ing the match with Mid­dles­brough.

Footage from the fourth-round tie at Old Traf­ford shows a green light ap­pear­ing on United and England cap­tain Rooney’s face as he pre­pared to take his kick in the penalty shoot-out at the end of the con­test.

Else­where, Theo Wal­cott and Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain are out un­til af­ter the forth­com­ing in­ter­na­tional break, Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger has an­nounced.

Both England in­ter­na­tion­al­ists went off in the open­ing 20 min­utes of Tues­day’s Cap­i­tal One Cup fourthround loss at Sh­effield Wed­nes­day.

Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain was re­placed af­ter five min­utes due to a ham­string prob­lem and, Wal­cott, who came on in his place, went off af­ter 19 min­utes with a calf prob­lem.

Wenger is still wait­ing for scans to de­ter­mine the full ex­tent of the in­juries, but nei­ther will fea­ture for the Gun­ners in the next three games.

Fi­nally, the city of Liver­pool bade farewell to a favourite adopted son at the funeral of former Ever­ton great Howard Ken­dall.

Born in County Durham as the son of a miner, Ken­dall found fame as a player with the Tof­fees in the 1960s and then over­saw the great­est pe­riod in the club’s his­tory as man­ager from 1981 to 1987.

Thou­sands of fans and foot­ball lu­mi­nar­ies gath­ered at Liver­pool’s Angli­can Cathe­dral to pay trib­ute to Ken­dall, who died 12 days ago at the age of 69.

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