Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink says he prefers to go on the attack than adopt a possession-based game favoured by Manchester United counterpart Louis van Gaal.
Hiddink is preparing Chelsea for the visit of United and their under-fire manager Van Gaal – who has faced criticism over a perceived negative approach at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal’s United rank third in the Premier League for possession, averaging 57.3 percent per game, but 10th for goals having scored just 31 in the league this season – a number boosted by a 3-0 beating of Stoke City in midweek.
Hiddink – whose style is generally perceived as more adventurous than his Dutch compatriot – feels English fans will always want goals over ball retention.
And he addressed the difference in philosophy between himself and Van Gaal, saying: “There’s a different approach and a different view on the game, that’s obvious.”
“There was once also, not just in Holland that we looked at the figures and said: ‘We had 65, 67 and 70 percent possession’ but there were opponents who said: ‘We don’t care how much possession you have, we have the score on our side.’
“That’s why you must not overrate the percentage of possession. It’s what you do with your possession.
“Most of the teams want to have the ball but what do you do with the ball?
“Do you secure your way of playing or do you go as soon as possible on the attack. The latter option is the one I prefer.”
Hiddink feels United fans just want to see more goals, while the Dutchman praised English supporters for demanding entertainment value from their sides.
“They like to see also what we like to see – more goals, they like to see also more play in the box,” he added.
“The influence of a manager is there but the culture of English football is also there.
“People like the pace. If managers want to break that down, the public and everyone doesn’t accept that. Of course the manager determines a lot and shows the way but in the end the public and the players probably.”
Hiddink also believes incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may have to tweak his coaching style to get his new club’s fans on board.
“He likes to play attractive football,” Hiddink said.
“When possession is there, just play possession in your back four with a goalie and you play wide, wide, wide without having any intention to go vertical, then this is a country that doesn’t allow that.”
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