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