'Abuse me, not the players' - van Gaal
Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United supporters to aim their anger towards him rather than his players.
United fans booed loudly when Van Gaal substituted Anthony Martial for Marouane Fellaini in the 66th minute of Tuesday's 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow. The supporters were also clearly unhappy about the often sterile style of play as they also sang: "We're Man Utd, we want to attack."
Van Gaal admits supporters are entitled to their opinion, but believes negativity is seeping through to the players. "The supporters have to support the players otherwise they make it very difficult for the players to play at Old Trafford," the United manager said ahead of today's home Premier League game against West Bromwich Albion.
"I can only advise the fans to criticise the manager and 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, then it's not good for my players," Van Gaal added. "Then it's better to whistle the manager, I can cope with it because I have had a lot of experience in my life as a manager."
In fairness to Van Gaal, his team did attack often on Tuesday night in the Champions League win. The hosts enjoyed over two-thirds of possession and had 15 attempts at goal. But as chance after chance fell by the wayside, the atmosphere became even more tense.
It was only with 11 minutes left on the clock that the tension eased when Wayne Rooney scored the winner.
Van Gaal defended his team's performance in the win - which came after three straight goalless draws - and insisted the fans should be proud of their team for beating CSKA at home for the first time in the club's history.
"I think we have attacked 85 minutes of the 90 so we have given a lot of entertainment," he said. "It is difficult to disorganise a team that has 10 people defending behind the ball, you have to take that into account always. When two teams are attacking it is more easy to score goals, that is why coaches use these tactics against us."