Manchester United great Paul Scholes has renewed his attack on the club’s tactics under Louis van Gaal, suggesting that the Dutchman has “a problem” with attacking players.
The former England midfielder questioned Van Gaal’s tactical approach after United crashed out of the League Cup on penalties against Middlesbrough.
Van Gaal addressed Scholes’ complaints in his pre-match media briefing ahead of his side’s third consecutive 0-0 draw in all competitions against Crystal Palace.
United will aim to end this dour spell against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday and, working as a pundit for BT Sport ahead of the game, Scholes continued his assault.
“I want to see United blast teams away with brilliant attacking football, have players with creativity and players who get you on the edge of your seat,” he said.
“But it’s not happening. What you have been seeing is a team that is brilliantly coached defensively.
“Sometimes you have to be like that against Barcelona, against Bayern Munich – not Crystal Palace, not Middlesbrough at home. United fans need to see something.
“It’s very difficult to coach attractive football. I was lucky enough to play with players that you would give a ball to and they could beat five players, ram the ball in the top corner.
“I just don’t see that in this team. Whether Van Gaal doesn’t give them the confidence to do that, I don’t know. It’s just a sidewise, possession, boring style of football.”
Scholes continued by listing a number of high-profile attacking players to have left Old Trafford under Van Gaal’s tenure – citing them as evidence for what he perceives to be an unease with creative talents on the part of the manager.
“You have to say, does he have a problem with forward players – players who can beat people?” he said.
“Look at the players he’s let go. Van Persie, Welbeck, Chicharito [Javier Hernandez], Januzaj, Di Maria – I’d love to see these players at the club now.
“I look at the bench on Saturday and there wasn’t one centre-forward on the bench.
“He brings Ashley Young on and he brings him on at right-back.
“I thought Ashley Young was one of the best players last year. He can beat a man, puts great crosses into the box.
“He’s probably not everyone’s favourite player but he tries stuff, he’s creative.”
The centre-forward bearing the brunt of criticism over United’s failings at present is Wayne Rooney, but Scholes believes his former team-mate is being ill-served by the man in charge.
“We talk about Rooney, he’s getting all the stick but I don’t think anybody would score goals in this team as a centre forward,” he added. “I think Sergio Aguero would struggle.
“He’s getting nothing from midfield, there’s no wide players. He’s getting no service whatsoever.
“I watched him for the first 20 minutes in the Manchester derby [a 0-0 draw with Manchester City]. He’s moving, he’s looking really sharp and the ball is just not coming to him. Eventually you get bored.”