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SAM Allardyce (

SAM Allardyce (below) is standing over his assertion that Louis van Gaal has introduced the long ball game to Old Trafford, writes Paul Hyland.

The West Ham boss has responded to van Gaal's statistical analyses by claiming that he was only stating facts himself.

"It was, to a certain extent, tongue in cheek. But I believe I was also making a factual point," he said.

"The fact was I saw United play, for a time against us last weekend, in a way I have never seen them before."

Van Gaal countered Allardyce's claims by suggesting that many long balls were "diagonal passes" and if anything, West Ham were the main culprits when it came to hopeful punts.

"What I didn't say afterwards was that we played fewer long balls than them - my comment was that United played long-ball football more than I have ever witnessed from them in the past," said Allardyce.

"Dare I make those comments because it's Manchester United? Yes, I dare because it was a fact. Louis's response created a bit of a furore and he obviously felt he had to protect himself by responding to my comments.

"Louis might have felt I was criticising him but the opposite was true. In fact I was praising the way he changed his team to escape from the predicament they were in against us."