Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has rejected suggestions made by captain Wayne Rooney and winger Jesse Lingard that the team are playing with greater freedom.
Lingard scored United’s first home goal before half-time since September in the 3-0 win over Stoke City in midweek.
Rooney crowned victory with his seventh strike in as many matches across all competitions, with United appearing to throw off some of the shackles that have led to widespread criticism of their previous performances and Van Gaal’s management.
Both players referred explicitly to “freedom” in the team’s play after recent matches, but the veteran Dutchman sees things differently – claiming his approach has not altered amid increased confidence from his players.
“I’m not agreeing with the remark of Wayne Rooney when he said that,” Van Gaal said. “That is also for Jesse Lingard.
“It is only that they have more confidence. And it is especially so with Wayne Rooney who is saying that because he has scored seven goals in a row. Then he can say that he is playing with more freedom because he has more confidence.
“But you want to write that it’s because he gets another training session in another style, because Louis van Gaal gives more freedom. No, it is still the same.
“We train still the same, the same way. It is not because of the change of attitude of Mr Louis van Gaal or another way of training. No. I’m sorry to say that. We are always working hard and very professionally in the philosophy of Louis van Gaal.”
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