Wednesday 20 November 2019

Man United star Daley Blind hits back at Gary Neville over 'playing too many square passes'

Daley Blind of Manchester United
Daley Blind of Manchester United

Mark Ogden

Daley Blind has insisted he will not change his game and become more adventurous at Manchester United, despite being accused by former Old Trafford captain Gary Neville of taking 'the easy option' by 'playing too many square passes'.

Blind, a £13.8m signing from Ajax last August, made an immediate return to Louis van Gaal's first-team earlier this month after almost two months on the sidelines with a medial ligament injury.

The 24-year-old has made a consistent start to life at Old Trafford, scoring once in 10 appearances to date, but his style of play prompted criticism from Neville earlier this season in the midst of United's unimpressive start to the campaign.

But after being signed by Van Gaal to protect United's defence, Blind insists he has no intention of altering his approach.

"I can take a bit of criticism," Blind said. "The people on television can say what they want, you hear it, but I think I have played some good games.

"Of course, I listen to him (Neville), but I try to play my own game and do what the trainer wants from me and that is to keep possession.

"It is important to keep the ball and make the opponent more tired.

"It is not always the case the finish the game in the first-half but you can do it in the second when the spaces become bigger when you have kept the ball for a long time. You have to wait for the right moment.

"It is all about waiting for the right moment. Sometimes the space is there, but other times you have to keep the ball and wait for an opening."

Having created Robin van Persie's memorable headed goal for Holland against Spain at the World Cup with a long pass from his own half, many had expected Blind to add a new dimension to United's attacking play this season.

"Of course, you can sometimes play the ball forward," Blind said. "But sometimes it is good to keep the ball in possession and make your team mates play better.

"I can make other players more important than myself. If I can do that by switching the play to the other side or wait for the right moment to do that then I will.

"If there is space forward then I will play that ball but sometimes I think it is better to keep possession, to switch from side to side and move the ball and search for players who can make an individual action.

"I am not a player who does that. I like the possession game and to keep the ball."

Blind, who is set to face Cambridge in the FA Cup on Friday, has urged United's supporters to be patient with the more conservation playing style being imposed by Van Gaal this season.

"I don't think the whole philosophy of the club has changed in the way we are playing," Blind said. "This is what the manager wants and I agree with it.

"He is very clear in what he wants. We all understand what he wants.

"If you have played another system for a long time, you have to get used to a new one, but that isn't a problem.

"It doesn't happen overnight. You can't always switch something in a day and it can take longer, but I feel we are improving every week and every game."

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