Tuesday 6 December 2016

'Boo the manager but not the players' - Louis van Gaal has message for Man United fans

Paul Hirst

Published 06/11/2015 | 15:35

Louis van Gaal stood by his controversial decision to substitute Anthony Martial for Marouane Fellaini in Manchester United's narrow victory over CSKA Moscow.
Louis van Gaal stood by his controversial decision to substitute Anthony Martial for Marouane Fellaini in Manchester United's narrow victory over CSKA Moscow.

Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United supporters to aim their anger towards him rather than his players.

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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 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.

Van Gaal has suspected the players have found it harder playing at Old Trafford ever since he took over last year.

United had an impeccable record on Van Gaal's first tour of the United States, but had to come from behind to beat Valencia in a friendly at Old Trafford and then lost at home to Swansea on the opening day of the Premier League season.

"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.

''I can only advise the fans to criticise the manager and not the players.

''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 69 per cent 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.

He said: ''I think we have attacked 85 minutes of the 90 so we have given a lot of entertainment.

''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 trainer coaches use these tactics against us.

''I didn't know (before) but I read the history of CSKA. They played last year against Manchester City at home and they won 2-1.

''Even in the golden age of Manchester United they could not win at home (against CSKA) so we have made history.''

Van Gaal will be hoping for a comprehensive victory on Saturday at home to West Brom to quell the dissenters.

But if last year's home meeting with the Baggies is anything to go by, the Dutchman will have to break down another defensively-minded rigid side.

Last term the Baggies came to Old Trafford and snatched a 1-0 win thanks to Chris Brunt's deflected free-kick.

Albion, who were fighting for Premier League survival at the time, played a solid 5-4-1 formation and rarely ventured out of their own half.

Van Gaal will give a late test to Morgan Schneiderlin, who missed the match against CSKA through illness.

''He shall train today (Friday) for the first time so we have to wait and see,'' Van Gaal told MUTV.

Ashley Young looks set to continue at right-back as Matteo Darmian is suspended and Antonio Valencia is still out with a foot injury.

Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Paddy McNair remain sidelined.

Press Association

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